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The actor should be able to create the universe in the palm of his hand.
– Laurence Olivier
Surely we have always acted; it is an instinct inherent in all of us. Some of us are better at it than others, but we all do it.
It took me two years to walk around a chair with ease; it took me another two years to learn how to laugh onstage – and I had to learn everything.
Have a very good reason for everything you do.
Nobody is going to pretend that I am younger than I am. Apart from anything else, it is in the papers all the damn time – every time I have a birthday.
A man’s prime interest in life must be his work.
I suppose, unconsciously, I used all my wives to further my journey up the ladder.
Lead the audience by the nose to the thought.
I don’t know what is better than the work that is given to the actor-to teach the human heart the knowledge of itself.
I believe that in a great city, or even in a small city or a village, a great theater is the outward and visible sign of an inward and probable culture.
Living is strife and torment, disappointment and love and sacrifice, golden sunsets and black storms. I said that some time ago, and today I do not think I would add one word.
When you’re a young man, Macbeth is a character part. When you’re older, it’s a straight part.
My stage successes have provided me with the greatest moments outside myself, my film successes the best moments, professionally, within myself.
Nine books have been written about me, and there’s not a word of truth in any of them.
I should be soaring away with my head tilted slightly toward the gods, feeding on the caviar of Shakespeare. An actor must act.
‘Richard III’ is a really difficult play to film – it’s involved, often obscure. I felt it absolutely necessary to do more simplification than I’ve ever done before.
I often think that could we creep behind the actor’s eyes, we would find an attic of forgotten toys and a copy of the Domesday Book.
We have all, at one time or another, been performers, and many of us still are – politicians, playboys, cardinals and kings.
I take a simple view of life: keep your eyes open and get on with it.
I’d like people to remember me for a diligent expert workman. I think a poet is a workman. I think Shakespeare was a workman. And God’s a workman. I don’t think there’s anything better than a workman.
The office of drama is to exercise, possibly to exhaust, human emotions. The purpose of comedy is to tickle those emotions into an expression of light relief; of tragedy, to wound them and bring the relief of tears. Disgust and terror are the other points of the compass.
I can’t think I’ve ever loved anybody quite as much… My mother was my life, really; she was my entire world.
Acting is a masochistic form of exhibitionism. It is not quite the occupation of an adult.
If he was lost for a moment, he would dive straight back into its honey.
We ape, we mimic, we mock. We act.