Most people seem to think I`m the kind of guy who shaves with a blowtorch. Actually I`m bookish and worrisome.
(on being a director) It`s the best job in the picture business because when you`re a director, you`re God. And you know that`s the best job in town.
Life is to be lived within the limits of your knowledge and within the concept of what you would like to see yourself to be.
(speaking in 1983) t*ts and sand - that`s what we used to call sex and violence in Hollywood.
I don`t know why Airport (1970) was nominated for any Oscars - it`s the biggest piece of junk ever.
We`re all forgotten sooner or later. But not films. That`s all the memorial we should need or hope for.
I woke up one day a star. It was terrifying. Then I worked hard toward becoming a good actor.
If I`m working with frightened people, I do tend to dominate them. I`m no doll, that`s for sure.
(on Kirk Douglas) Kirk would be the first to admit that he`s difficult to work with - and I would be the second.
(on Montgomery Clift) He had so much power, so much concentration. Clift was a complicated man, there`s no question about it. He was a very sweet man, Monty, very emotional.
I am reasonably happy, providing I keep busy.
Can anything be more Un-American than the Un-American committee?
(in 1985) If anyone should have gotten AIDS from an active sex life, it is me.
I had the luck of having an obedient body.
(advice to actor Bruce Davison, on the set of Ulzana`s Raid (1972)) You try to please the director, and the cameraman and the soundman, and you`re acting and acting and acting and by the time you come to your close-up, you`ve shot your wad. It`s like making love to a woman: you can`t try to come all at once, son. A bit of a tit here, a bit of an inner thigh there, and you have a performance!
(in 1976) Whether you like it or not, when you`re 62 you are fulfilled.
I am interested in being in pictures that I would like to see.
I`ve always wanted to get an education, and tonight`s as good a time as any.
Mother beat the hell out of us. She`d have wild outbursts.
I always try to improve, to find new ways of expressing myself, to keep looking for truth and originality.
In my opinion, Shirley Booth is the finest actress I have ever worked with.
(upon being offered Ben-Hur (1959)) I don`t want to make this film. It`s a piece of crap.
You have to fight against being an antique.
I believe we should appeal to people at the higher levels.
They were fun days, and we set the town on fire with every movie we did.
I found marriage somewhat stifling. I don`t know that I am the kind of man who ought to be married.
I have turned down a lot of garbage lately.
I feel that I am a good actor.
A circus is like a mother in whom one can confide and who rewards and punishes.
My brother never had me to dinner in his life.
I judge a restaurant by the bread and by the coffee.
(on working with Montgomery Clift on "From Here to Eternity") The only time I was ever really afraid as an actor was that first scene with Clift. It was my scene, understand: I was the sergeant, I gave the orders, he was just a private under me. Well, when we started, I couldn`t stop my knees from shaking. I thought they might have to stop because my trembling would show. I was afraid he was going to blow me right off the screen.
My former wife is a truly wonderful person.
I hate looking backward, but every once in a while it sneaks up on you.
Obviously I am not the young man who came to Hollywood in 1946.
Take the feeling of hunger out of your gut, and you`re no longer a champion.
I walked out of class one day and I never went back.
Sell yourself first, if you want to sell anything.
(on Kirk Douglas) We both came from, sort of, well, shall we say, humble beginnings. We were both young, brash, c*cky, arrogant. We knew everything, were highly opinionated. We were invincible. Nobody liked us.
Sometimes I only succeed in beating myself to death.