John Gielgud Poster

Quotes (20)

  • [At age 84] When you're my age, you just never risk being ill - because then everyone says, "Oh, he's done for".
  • Like all professions, acting has terrible drawbacks. It can be fearfully boring, fearfully unglamorous . . . but what is fun about the theatre is that we get our prizes while we are alive to enjoy them. We have the pleasure of the audience's reaction, we have the applause, we have the publicity, we have the tribute and the honors and whatever it may be. Much more than we probably deserve.
  • [to Richard Burton on seeing Burton's first "Hamlet"] I'll come back and see it when you're better.
  • [on reading bad reviews] It's wonderful when it isn't you.
  • [During an interview on US television the interviewer asked who had inspired him] It was during my time at RADA, there was a man who inspired us all. Claude Rains. I don't know what happened to him, I think he failed and went to America.
  • The only thing I liked about films was looking at the back of my head, which otherwise I could only see at the tailor's.
  • If one watches television enough, one begins to perceive the texture with which it's contrived.
  • [on Ralph Richardson] Ralph is a remarkable man, shrewd, observant, warm and generous-hearted, once you get to know him. He is also reserved and cautious, never making a swift decision about anything.
  • [on Peggy Ashcroft] I'm absolutely devoted to her. People can't behave badly when she's around. She has such integrity.
  • [on James Mason] He was a punctilious man, beautifully mannered, quiet, generous and amusing. I never heard him say a vicious or bitter thing about anything or anyone.
  • The joke is that people think of me as an intellectual actor. Yet I have always trusted almost entirely to observation, emotion and instinct.
  • Acting is half shame, half glory. Shame at exhibiting yourself, glory when you can forget yourself.
  • [on Claude Rains] He was a great influence on me. I don't know what happened to him. I think he failed and went to America.
  • I was very hesitant of making this program because one's bound to reveal one's self and one is not very proud of it. Although in a way acting depends on your scraping away the details of your personality and using all of your qualities to some extent, but I was also so ashamed of them being so lacking. I never had interest in politics or sport, two great wars have sort of passed me by in a way. I was sort of in them but not of them. I've been so lucky and had so many wonderful people to work with. I've been occupied and had fun, and made many wonderful friends. One has nothing to repress one's self in that way, but I'm ashamed that I haven't got more to offer, really, than just being an actor.
  • [on Richard Burton:] I have never known such a gifted actor who was so lacking in confidence.
  • [on Trevor Howard] An enormously versatile and powerful actor. He was a star who had no pretensions, something rare in an actor. It was a shame that despite his stage success, Howard had chosen to concentrate on film work in later years. He was torn between the two mediums. He was a generous man and he had beautiful manners. He was also Bohemian and wild, which was fun.
  • [on Edith Evans as Millimant in William Congreve's 'The Way of the World'] She purred and challenged, mocked and melted, showing her changing moods by subtly shifting the angles of her head, neck and shoulders. Poised and cool, like a porcelain figure in a vitrine, she used her fan - which she never opened - as an instrument for attack or defense, now coquettishly pointing it upwards beneath her chin, now resting It languidly on her cheek.
  • [on theatre actor, designer, director and theoretician, Gordon Craig] He enjoyed becoming a legend, but he was too suspicious to let anybody manage him or help him carry out his ideas. When I knew him, he was a very old man but still in wonderful spirits. He had no teeth but ate enormous meals and chattered away, looking picturesquely sly and coy and nodding, like an old raven, with his head on one side.
  • [directing Linda Marsh as Ophelia in "Hamlet", 1964]: You went slinking about the stage doing a number of interesting movements. They were adequately serpentine, but not altogether gorgeous.
  • [on being cast by Alfred Hitchcock in 'The Secret Agent', 1936] Hitch said he was offering me Hamlet in modern dress. But when we came to make it, all the psychological interest was dissipated.