Classic Hollywood Trivia & Quotes

Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman roomed together in New York at Hackman’s one-bedroom apartment on 2nd Ave. & 26th St.  Hoffman slept on the kitchen floor.  Originally, Hackman had offered to let him stay a few nights, but Hoffman would not leave.  Hackman had to take him out to look for his own apartment.  (LOL!)

Another roommate of Hoffman’s in NYC was Robert Duvall.

They would often go to the apartment rooftop and play the drums.  Hoffman played the bongo drums while Hackman played the conga drums.

Gene Hackman worked as a doorman, soda jerk at a pharmacy, and moved furniture while he was a struggling actor in NYC.

Hackman (now retired) admitted that he took roles with money as the first consideration in some cases. 

Hackman said:

Dysfunctional families have sired a number of pretty good actors.

I wanted to act, but I’d always been convinced that actors had to be handsome.  That came from the days when Errol Flynn was my idol.  I’d come out of a theater and be startled when I looked in a mirror because I didn’t look like Flynn.  I felt like him.

I was trained to be an actor, not a star. I was trained to play roles, not to deal with fame and agents and lawyers and the press.


Hoffman said:

I wanted to be a jazz pianist, but I wasn’t good enough.

I started junior college in Los Angeles because I didn’t have the grades to go to university and I didn’t want to go into the military. So in my first year of junior college I’m failing and I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to get a job, I want to be a student, and a friend says, ‘Take acting, because they don’t flunk you – it’s like gym, nobody gets an F.’  I took it and suddenly it was the first thing I ever did that wasn’t painful. Where I held focus. And suddenly, rehearsing with somebody – learning lines – hours could pass by. And I begged my parents to let me go to this acting school, because I knew I couldn’t fail.


Laurence Olivier‘s ancestors were French Huguenots (Protestants) who fled to England in the 17th century because of persecution by the majority Catholics.  (That’s why his surname is French.) 

After he became ill, Olivier was replaced by Brando in The Godfather.

He  insisted that people call him “Larry” despite having several noble titles.


Olivier said:

Without acting I cannot breathe.

If I wasn’t an actor, I think I’d have gone mad. You have to have extra voltage, some extra temperament to reach certain heights. Art is a little bit larger than life – it’s an exhalation of life and I think you probably need a little touch of madness.

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.


Robert Redford lost his baseball scholarship and was expelled from The University of Colorado for drunkenness.  (His position had been pitcher.)

Some people have analysis. I have Utah.

I never did look like a 21-year-old just out of college who’d never been laid.  (On why he turned down the lead role in The Graduate– LOL!)

All my life I’ve been dogged by guilt because I feel there is this difference between the way I look and the way I feel inside.


Spencer Tracy served in the navy,  and worked as a bellhop, janitor, and salesman while doing stock theater.

Tracy didn’t like to rehearse and would read through a scene only once. He also never liked to shoot a scene more than once, and in most cases he didn’t have to.

He turned down Cary Grant’s role in The Philadelphia Story because he wanted to work on another film.

Tracy said:

It is up to us to give ourselves recognition. If we wait for it to come from others, we feel resentful when it doesn’t, and when it does, we may well reject it.

I couldn’t be a director because I couldn’t put up with the actors. I don’t have the patience. Why, I’d probably kill the actors. Not to mention some of the beautiful actresses.

Why do actors think they’re so God damn important? They’re not. Acting is not an important job in the scheme of things. Plumbing is.

This mug of mine is as plain as a barn door. Why should people pay thirty-five cents to look at it?

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