Paul Newman's Quotes

#Quote
1 [on his salad dressing franchise] I've had more fun doing this than anything else I've done in a long time. But remember: it's really my way of telling Ronald Reagan that his salad days are over.
2 Acting is a question of absorbing other people's personalities and adding some of your own experiences.
3 [on Marlon Brando ] I've always envied Marlon's talent, which was always so much greater than anybody else's. I feel cheated he hasn't made more films, but I understand his reason. I think he felt that acting was not a manly profession sometimes and sometimes I feel the same way. But with Marlon it's more that he's too good for any of this.
4 We are such spendthrifts with our lives. The trick of living is to slip on and off the planet with the least fuss you can muster. I'm not running for sainthood. I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer, who puts back into the soil what he takes out.
5 I felt guilty as hell about leaving my wife and children, and I will carry that guilt for the rest of my life. But the fact that Joanne and I are still together after all those years proves I took the right decision.
6 I can say fairly safely that I didn't really know much about acting until I got to be in my fifties.
7 I have no natural gift to be anything - not an athlete, not an actor, not a writer, not a director, a painter of garden porches - not anything. So I've worked really hard, because nothing ever came easily to me.
8 If anyone had ever told me 20 years ago I'd be sitting in a room with peach walls, I would have told them to take a nap in a urinal.
9 [1994] I'm not mellower, I'm not less angry, I'm not less self-critical, I'm not less tenacious. Maybe the best part is that your liver can't handle those beers at noon anymore.
10 Once you've seen your face on a bottle of salad dressing, it's hard to take yourself seriously.
11 [2005] It'd be lunatic to try to get into politics at my age. I don't think I'd have the stomach for it. I wish I felt a little more comfortable about the direction that we're going. It does not seem to be of the people, by the people and for the people. It seems to be about something else completely different. I think part of it is the media's fault for not being more aggressive and persistent and nasty and I think it's the people's fault for not paying attention. That's not a good combination. It allows people in government to do pretty much what they want.
12 [on Henry Fonda ] If I can be like Henry Fonda, then I look forward to aging to sixty and beyond -- and not just because Hank finally won the Oscar he deserved. He was a good character actor and a good actor in the American tradition of playing variations on oneself.
13 [on Tom Cruise ] He's got a lot of actor's courage. He doesn't mind climbing up there and jumping off. It's nice to watch that.
14 [on Dame Julie Andrews ] The last of the really great dames.
15 [on a $10-million donation he made to his alma mater] I owe Kenyon College a great deal. I even started my first business, a laundry service, there, and I depended on the extra $60 a week.
16 [2007] I have an extraordinary attention span. I manage to juggle two or three different ideas at the same time, and that's probably, if I have a gift, that's probably the best gift that's given me.
17 [asked why he thought he became so successful as an actor] I have a face that does not belong to a thief.
18 I'm not able to work anymore as an actor and still at the level that I would want to. I'm just, you know, you start to lose your memory, you start to lose your confidence, you start to lose your invention. So I think that's pretty much a closed book for me.
19 I wasn't driven to acting by an inner compulsion. I was running away from the sporting goods business.
20 Ever since Slap Shot (1977), I've been swearing more. I knew I had a problem one day when I turned to my daughter and said, "Would you please pass the fucking salt?".
21 You can't stop being a citizen just because you have a Screen Actors' Guild card.
22 [ Joanne Woodward ] has always given me unconditional support in all my choices and endeavors, and that includes my race car driving, which she deplores. To me, that's love.
23 To be an actor, you have to be a child.
24 The characters I have the least in common with are the ones I have the greatest success with. The further a role is from my own experience, the more I try to deepen it.
25 Acting isn't really a creative process, it's an interpretative one.
26 As long as my heart continues to beat, I think I will continue.
27 Once I started taking drama classes, I asked myself why I had ever wasted so much time on a football team.
28 Men experience many passions in a lifetime. One passion drives away the one before it.
29 A man with no enemies is a man with no character.
30 I'd like to be remembered as a guy who tried - who tried to be part of his times, tried to help people communicate with one another, tried to find some decency in his own life, tried to extend himself as a human being. Someone who isn't complacent, who doesn't cop out.
31 I don't think there's anything exceptional or noble in being philanthropic. It's the other attitude that confuses me.
32 I would like it if people would think that beyond Newman, there's a spirit that takes action, a heart, and a talent that doesn't come from my blue eyes.
33 Almost everything I learned about being an actor came from those early years at the Actor's Studio.
34 Acting is a question of absorbing other people's personalities and adding some of your own experiences.
35 A man can only be judged by his actions, and not by his good intentions or his beliefs.
36 In the early days of films, the movie star in this country replaced royalty. They've been demoted since then but they're still treated as beings larger than life.
37 I will continue to get behind the wheel of a racing car as long as I am able. But that could all end tomorrow...
38 I'm always puzzled by this talk about star... image. I think there's people who are writers or barbers or mechanics or race car drivers that have certain recognizable personalities, and I don't think just because they happen to be on the screen that it makes them any more exceptional.
39 [on his days as a member of the Actors Studio] I remember someone who helped me a lot in my early days. We were just rehearsing a scene and I remember she stopped me with an absolute rifle shot of a clap and grabbed my shirt and said, "You are not thinking, you are just thinking you are thinking." And if you watch actors, you can tell those who don't necessarily indicate in broad strokes what's going on, but you can really see in their eyes that they are going through a process.
40 [1970s] I think I get a very unfortunate view of the press. I think of what is written about me, about 5% of it is accurate. I'm not comfortable with them, they're not comfortable with me. I certainly am not comfortable with photographers.
41 I picture my epitaph: "Here lies Paul Newman, who died a failure because his eyes turned brown."
42 [explaining why he accepted The Silver Chalice (1954) for his film debut] After the success of "Picnic", I had a lot of offers from Hollywood and I never accepted any of them. Finally, my agent said, "You know, they're going to keep knocking on your door and knocking on your door and at some point they're going to stop. So you better make sure you say 'Yes' before that stop occurs". That was when somebody sent me a copy of "The Silver Chalice" and I got talked into it. I knew that was going to be a bomb.
43 [on his long marriage to Joanne Woodward ] We are very, very different people and yet somehow we fed off those varied differences and instead of separating us, it has made the whole bond a lot stronger.
44 I can remember in my high school days and I kept thinking to myself, "Now, why did those actors go out in public after a certain age?" I mean, why would they wanna blow this image they'd worked so hard and allow themselves to be photographed? They should have just stayed at home and stayed young and youthful. And now it's there for everybody to look at - all our words, stuttering, and bad posture. All those things that should never happen, really. Well, times change. Yeah, it ain't so bad!
45 That I survived the first film I did [ The Silver Chalice (1954)] was extraordinarily good fortune. I mean, I had dogs chasing me down the street. I was wearing this tiny little Greek cocktail dress - with MY legs! Good Lord, it was really bad. In fact, it was the worst film made in the 1950s. My first review said that "Mr. Newman delivers his lines with the emotional fervor of a Putnam stop conductor announcing local stop".
46 [on winning his first Oscar after so many losses] It's like chasing a beautiful woman for 80 years. Finally, she relents and you say, "I'm terribly sorry. I'm tired".
47 [on why he decided to stay in Connecticut] Better than Montana... and my wife and I found a nice cemetery here.
48 I had no natural gift to be anything--not an athlete, not an actor, not a writer, not a director, a painter of garden porches--not anything. So I've worked really hard, because nothing ever came easily to me.
49 The first time I remember women reacting to me was when we were filming Hud (1963) in Texas. Women were literally trying to climb through the transoms at the motel where I stayed. At first, it's flattering to the ego. At first. Then you realize that they're mixing me up with the roles I play - characters created by writers who have nothing to do with who I am.
50 [what wife Joanne Woodward thinks of his love for racing] She thinks competitive driving is the silliest thing in the world. It is also very scary for her, and she doesn't much care for it.
51 I've been accused of being aloof. I'm not. I'm just wary.
52 Twenty-five years ago, I couldn't walk down the street without being recognized. Now I can put a cap on, walk anywhere and no one pays me any attention. They don't ask me about my movies and they don't ask me about my salad dressing because they don't know who I am. Am I happy about this? You bet.
53 I've repeatedly said that for people as little in common as Joanne and myself, we have an uncommonly good marriage. We are actors. We make pictures and that's about all we have in common. Maybe that's enough. Wives shouldn't feel obligated to accompany their husbands to a ball game, husbands do look a bit silly attending morning coffee breaks with the neighborhood wives when most men are out at work. Husbands and wives should have separate interests, cultivate different sets of friends and not impose on the other...You can't spend a lifetime breathing down each other's necks.
54 [his advice to young actors just starting out] Study your craft and know who you are and what's special about you. Find out what everyone does on a film set, ask questions and listen. Make sure you live life, which means don't do things where you court celebrity, and give something positive back to our society.
55 I never ask my wife [actress Joanne Woodward ] about my flaws. Instead, I try to get her to ignore them and concentrate on my sense of humor. You don't want any woman to look under the carpet, guys, because there's lots of flaws underneath. Joanne believes my character in a film we did together, Mr. & Mrs. Bridge (1990), comes closest to who I really am. I personally don't think there's one character who comes close... but I learned a long time ago not to disagree on things that I don't have a solid opinion about.
56 I started my career giving a clinic in bad acting in the film, The Silver Chalice (1954) and now I'm playing a crusty old man who's an animated automobile [in Cars (2006)]. That's a creative arc for you, isn't it?
57 Being on [President Richard Nixon 's] enemies list was the highest single honor I've ever received. Who knows who's listening to me now and what government list I'm on?
58 For those of you who like to scarf your popcorn in the sack, the good news is that Newman's Own contains an aphrodisiac.
59 Every time I get a script it's a matter of trying to know what I could do with it. I see colors, imagery. It has to have a smell. It's like falling in love. You can't give a reason why.
60 If you're playing a poker game and you look around the table and can't tell who the sucker is, it's you.
61 I was always a character actor. I just looked like Little Red Riding Hood.
62 You can't be as old as I am without waking up with a surprised look on your face every morning: "Holy Christ, whaddya know - I'm still around!" It's absolutely amazing that I survived all the booze and smoking and the cars and the career.
63 [on Alfred Hitchcock ] I think Hitch and I could have really hit it off, but the script kept getting in the way.
64 I'm a supporter of gay rights. And not a closet supporter, either. From the time I was a kid, I have never been able to understand attacks upon the gay community. There are so many qualities that make up a human being... by the time I get through with all the things that I really admire about people, what they do with their private parts is probably so low on the list that it is irrelevant.
65 I like racing but food and pictures are more thrilling. I can't give them up. In racing you can be certain, to the last thousandth of a second, that someone is the best, but with a film or a
66 It's all been a bad joke that just ran out of control. I got into food for fun but the business got a mind of its own. Now - my good Lord - look where it has gotten me. My products are on supermarket shelves, in cinemas, in the theater. And they say show business is odd.
67 When I realized I was going to have to be a whore, to put my face on the label, I decided that the only way I could do it was to give away all the money we make. Over the years, that ethical stance has given us a 30 per cent boost. One in three customers buys my products because all the profits go to good causes and the rest buy the stuff because it is good.
68 If I ever feel like I'm doing something I've done before, I scrap it and start over again.
69 I really just can't watch myself. I see all the machinery at work and it just drives me nuts.
70 [on philanthropy] You can only put away so much stuff in your closet.
71 The embarrassing thing is that my salad dressing is out-grossing my films.
72 [1982] Acting is like letting your pants down - you're exposed.
73 [1974, on the success of his collaborations with wife Joanne Woodward ] You should see us when we get back to the bedroom.
74 [in response to radio interviewer who asked if he would co-star with Robert Redford in a sequel to Indecent Proposal (1993)] Like a rocket! I'd shack up with anyone for a million dollars. I'd shack up with a gorilla for a million, plus 10%.
75 [responding to an interviewer's question as to why he was never "tempted" by the many beautiful Hollywood actresses he worked with] Why fool around with hamburger when you have steak at home?
Sources:
IMDB, Wikipedia


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