Acting deals with very delicate emotions. It is not putting up a mask. Each time an actor acts he does not hide; he exposes himself.
—Rodney Dangerfield (1921–2004) American Comedian, TV Personality, Actor
More than in any other performing arts the lack of respect for acting seems to spring from the fact that every layman considers himself a valid critic.
—Uta Hagen (1919–2004) German-American Actress
I have often seen an actor laugh off the stage, but I don’t remember ever having seen one weep.
—Denis Diderot (1713–84) French Philosopher, Writer
Too caustic? To hell with the cost. If it’s a good picture, we’ll make it anyway.
—Samuel Goldwyn (1879–1974) Polish-born American Film Producer, Businessperson
Acting doesn’t bring anything to a text. On the contrary, it detracts from it.
—Marguerite Duras (1914–96) French Novelist, Playwright
A true priest is aware of the presence of the altar during every moment that he is conducting a service. It is exactly the same way that a true artist should react to the stage all the time he is in the theater. An actor who is incapable of this feeling will never be a true artist.
—Konstantin Stanislavski (1863–1938) Russian Actor, Theater Personality
If you give an audience a chance they will do half your acting for you.
—Katharine Hepburn (1907–2003) American Actor, TV Personality
When an actor has money, he doesn’t send letters, but telegrams.
—Anton Chekhov (1860–1904) Russian Short-Story Writer
You must be what it is that you’re seeking. This is a universe of attraction and energy. You can’t have a desire to attract a mate who’s confident, generous, non-judgmental, and gentle, and expect that desire to be manifested if you’re thinking and acting in nonconfident, selfish, judgmental, or arrogant ways…
—Wayne Dyer (1940–2015) American Self-Help Author
Every actor in his heart believes everything bad that’s printed about him.
—Orson Welles (1915–85) American Film Director, Actor
We need to practice acting in spite of fear, in spite of doubt, in spite of worry, in spite of uncertainty, in spite of inconvenience, in spite of discomfort, and even to practice acting when we’re not in the mood to act.
—T. Harv Eker (b.1954) American Motivational Speaker, Lecturer, Author
When you inhabit any of these three roles, you’re reacting to fear of victimhood, loss of control, or loss of purpose. You’re always looking outside yourself, to the people and circumstances of life, for a sense of safety, security, and sanity.
The actors today really need the whip hand. They’re so lazy. They haven’t got the sense of pride in their profession that the less socially elevated musical comedy and music hall people or acrobats have. The theater has never been any good since the actors became gentlemen.
—W. H. Auden (1907–73) British-born American Poet, Dramatist
When he ran from a cop his transitions from accelerating walk to easy jog trot to brisk canter to headlong gallop to flogged-piston sprint…were as distinct and as soberly in order as an automatic gearshift.
—James Agee (1909–55) American Journalist, Poet, Screenwriter, Film Critic
If you took acting away from me, I’d stop breathing.
—Ingrid Bergman (1915–82) Swedish Actor
Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.
—George Burns (1896–1996) American Comedian
Acting is the least mysterious of all crafts. Whenever we want something from somebody or when we want to hide something or pretend, we’re acting. Most people do it all day long.
—Marlon Brando (1924–2004) American Film, Stage Actor
You must have this charm to reach the pinnacle. It is made of everything and of nothing, the striving will, the look, the walk, the proportions of the body sound of the voice, the ease of the gestures. It is not at all necessary to be handsome or to be pretty; all that is needful is charm.
—Sarah Bernhardt (1844–1923) French Actress
I believe that God felt sorry for actors so he created Hollywood to give them a place in the sun and a swimming pool. The price they had to pay was to surrender their talent.
—Cedric Hardwicke (1893–1964) English Stage, Film Actor
I was born at the age of twelve on a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lot.
—Judy Garland (1922–69) American Actress, Singer
The thing about performance, even if it’s only an illusion, is that it is a celebration of the fact that we do contain within ourselves infinite possibilities.
—Daniel Day-Lewis (b.1957) English Actor
Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.
—Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) Irish Poet, Playwright
A good many dramatic situations begin with screaming.
—Jane Fonda (b.1937) American Actress, Political Activist
It’s easy to direct while acting; there’s one less person to argue with.
—Roman Polanski (b.1933) French Film Director, Film Producer, Actor, Screenwriter
She runs the gamut of emotions from A to B.
—Dorothy Parker (1893–1967) American Humorist, Journalist
It is with life as with a play-it matters not how long the action is spun out, but how good the acting is.
—Seneca the Younger (Lucius Annaeus Seneca) (c.4 BCE–65 CE) Roman Stoic Philosopher, Statesman, Tragedian
I never said all actors are cattle, what I said was all actors should be treated like cattle.
—Alfred Hitchcock (1899–1980) British-born American Film Director, Film Producer
They are, as it were, train-bearers in the pageant of life, and hold a glass up to humanity, frailer than itself. We see ourselves at second-hand in them: they show us all that we are, all that we wish to be, and all that we dread to be. What brings the resemblance nearer is, that, as they imitate us, we, in our turn, imitate them. There is no class of society whom so many persons regard with affection as actors.
—William Hazlitt (1778–1830) English Essayist
If a farmer fills his barn with grain, he gets mice. If he leaves it empty, he gets actors.
—Burton Hillis (William E. Vaughan) (1915–77) American Columnist, Author
Acting is the most minor of gifts and not a very high-class way to earn a living. After all, Shirley Temple could do it at the age of four.
—Katharine Hepburn (1907–2003) American Actor, TV Personality