I think every American actor wants to be a movie star. But I never wanted to do stupid movies, I wanted to do films. I vowed I would never do a commercial, nor would I do a soap opera — both of which I did as soon as I left the [Acting] Company and was starving.
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- I’m an actor. And I guess I’ve done so many movies I’ve achieved some high visibility. But a star? I guess I still think of myself as kind of a worker ant.
- If you have to be in a soap opera try not to get the worst role.
- Commercial jazz, soap opera, pulp fiction, comic strips, the movies set the images, mannerisms, standards, and aims of the urban masses. In one way or another, everyone is equal before these cultural machines; like technology itself, the mass media are nearly universal in their incidence and appeal. They are a kind of common denominator, a kind of scheme for pre-scheduled, mass emotions.
- Such is an actor’s life. We must ride the waves of every film, barfing occasionally, yet maintain our dignity, even as the bulk of our Herculean efforts are keel-hauled before our very eyes. [On filming MacHale’s Navy]
- After [my father had] seen me in five or six things, he said, Son, your mother and I really enjoyed your recent film, and I must say that you’re a lot like John Wayne. And I said, How so? And he said, Well, you’re exactly the same in all your roles. Now, as a modern American actor, that’s not what you want to hear. But for a guy who watched John Wayne movies and grew up in Iowa, it’s a sterling compliment.
- You don’t merely give over your creativity to making a film — you give over your life! In theatre, by contrast, you live these two rather strange lives simultaneously; you have no option but to confront the mould on last night’s washing-up.