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Helen Hayes

"... there is only one terminal dignity -- love. And the story of a love is not important -- what is important is that one is capable of love. It is perhaps the only glimpse we are permitted of eternity."

Helen Hayes, in Guideposts (1960)

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"Acting in the theatre is the most direct and effective approach to emotion that has ever been devised, isn't it?"

Helen Hayes, in Lewis Funke and John E. Booth, Actors Talk About Acting (1961)

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"What is talent? Perhaps it is an instinct for understanding the human heart."

Helen Hayes, in Lewis Funke and John E. Booth, Actors Talk About Acting (1961)

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"... even the wisest can be misled by success ... "

Helen Hayes, in Lewis Funke and John E. Booth, Actors Talk About Acting (1961)

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"I often wonder: Who will pick up the pieces of our damaged world? A poet, I think."

Helen Hayes, with Lewis Funke, A Gift of Joy (1965)

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"One has to grow up with good talk in order to form the habit of it."

Helen Hayes, with Lewis Funke, A Gift of Joy (1965)

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"Actors cannot choose the manner in which they are born. Consequently, it is the one gesture in their lives completely devoid of self-consciousness."

Helen Hayes, with Lewis Funke, A Gift of Joy (1965)

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"Perhaps we have been misguided into taking too much responsibility from our children, leaving them too little room for discovery."

Helen Hayes, with Lewis Funke, A Gift of Joy (1965)

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"We live in a very tense society. We are pulled apart as if by centrifugal force and we all need to learn how to pull ourselves together ... I think that at least part of the answer lies in solitude."

Helen Hayes, with Lewis Funke, A Gift of Joy (1965)

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"Every human born on this earth is born with a tragedy, and it isn't original sin. He's born with the tragedy that he has to grow up. That he has to leave the nest, the security, and go out to do battle. He has to lose everything that is lovely and fight for a new loveliness of his own making, and it's a tragedy. A lot of people don't have the courage to do it."

Helen Hayes, in Roy Newquist, Showcase (1966)

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"This is the day of instant genius. Everybody starts at the top, and then has the problem of staying there. Lasting accomplishment, however, is still achieved through a long, slow climb and self-discipline."

Helen Hayes, with Sandford Dody, On Reflection, An Autobiography (1968)

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"From your parents you learn love and laughter and how to put one foot before the other. But when books are opened you discover that you have wings."

Helen Hayes, with Sandford Dody, On Reflection, An Autobiography (1968)

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" Relationships, casual or intimate, are frequently played out as they might be in theater, heightened, dramatized, staged with echoes of past dialogue and gestures that corrupt the spontaneity."

Helen Hayes, with Sandford Dody, On Reflection, An Autobiography (1968)

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"No matter how real the emotion, the habit of acting is hard to break. If you are a star, then it follows that you must twinkle mightily. There is a price for stardom and, unfortunately, one's family shares in the payment."

Helen Hayes, with Sandford Dody, On Reflection, An Autobiography (1968)

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"Legends die hard. They survive as truth rarely does."

Helen Hayes, with Sandford Dody, On Reflection, An Autobiography (1968)

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"Reality was such a jungle -- with no signposts, landmarks, or boundaries. "

Helen Hayes, with Sandford Dody, On Reflection, An Autobiography (1968)

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"Good actors sparking each other make for the wild fire that lights up the theater."

Helen Hayes, with Sandford Dody, On Reflection, An Autobiography (1968)

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"Inefficiency seems to be running rampant in our world, and our only hope lies in the fact that the wicked so often share this lack of dedication to a job well done. Nature does have its way of compensating."

Helen Hayes, with Sandford Dody, On Reflection, An Autobiography (1968)

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"Talent may not be for sale, but the best way to package and display your gift is."

Helen Hayes, with Sandford Dody, On Reflection, An Autobiography (1968)

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"He could smell a sinner five miles away on a windless day."

Helen Hayes, with Sandford Dody, On Reflection, An Autobiography (1968)

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"Our house was always filled with dogs ... They helped make our house a kennel, it is true, but the constant patter of their filthy paws and the dreadful results of their brainless activities have warmed me throughout the years."

Helen Hayes, with Sandford Dody, On Reflection, An Autobiography (1968)

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"When I hear tell of the character and the loyalty and devotion of dogs, I remain unmoved. All of my dogs have been scamps and thieves and troublemakers and I've adored them all."

Helen Hayes, with Sandford Dody, On Reflection, An Autobiography (1968)

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" One has to protect oneself from the earnest friends who would help you in adversity."

Helen Hayes, with Sandford Dody, On Reflection, An Autobiography (1968)

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"Stardom can be a gilded slavery ... "

Helen Hayes, with Sandford Dody, On Reflection, An Autobiography (1968)

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"... we in the theater are paradoxes. Our agonizing shyness is equalled only by the tremendous need for acceptance."

Helen Hayes, with Sandford Dody, On Reflection, An Autobiography (1968)

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"Through the years I have found it wonderful to acquire, but it is also wonderful to divest. It's rather like exhaling."

Helen Hayes, with Sandford Dody, On Reflection, An Autobiography (1968)

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"Now that I have reached a goodly age -- a grandmother's age, three things remain. Faith, love and memory."

Helen Hayes, with Sandford Dody, On Reflection, An Autobiography (1968)

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"I think it's very important to be alone. Loneliness is just an idea that, I'm afraid, has something to do with self-pity."

Helen Hayes, A Gathering of Hope (1983)

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"In the last states of a final illness, we need only the absence of pain and the presence of family."

Helen Hayes, with Marion Glasserow Gladney, Loving Life (1987)

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"Science is providing answers with such phenomenal speed that philosophy has lost track of the questions."

Helen Hayes, with Marion Glasserow Gladney, Loving Life (1987)

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"The agonies of alcoholism have been familiar to me since early childhood. Childhood is rather brief under those conditions."

Helen Hayes, with Marion Glasserow Gladney, Loving Life (1987)

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"Childhood is a short season."

Helen Hayes, with Marion Glasserow Gladney, Loving Life (1987)

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"Much of the disapproval we think is directed against us is, in fact, self-inflicted."

Helen Hayes, with Marion Glasserow Gladney, Loving Life (1987)

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"We grow up the day we are allowed to go somewhere alone and don't have to call home to say we arrived."

Helen Hayes, with Marion Glasserow Gladney, Loving Life (1987)

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"Health care is news, partly because of costs and partly because of length of life, both of which exceed expectations."

Helen Hayes, with Marion Glasserow Gladney, Loving Life (1987)

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"It is a wise thing for a woman to keep a high regard for her husband's intelligence and competence, even when she realizes, as we all do, that he is not quite the hero she thought he was."

Helen Hayes, with Marion Glasserow Gladney, Loving Life (1987)

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"What was the worst part of going to school? Being called on by the teacher. A sudden rush of blood to the brain when your name was called invariably erased all memory, like a computer when the power fails."

Helen Hayes, with Marion Glasserow Gladney, Loving Life (1987)

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"Civilization will cease without civility."

Helen Hayes, with Marion Glasserow Gladney, Loving Life (1987)

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"If you rest, you rust."

Helen Hayes, Helen Hayes with Katherine Hatch, My Life in Three Acts (1990)

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"As we grow older, God sees to it our eyesight grows dimmer, so that when we look at ourselves in the mirror, we can say, 'I still look as good as ever.' "

Helen Hayes

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"... age is not important unless you are a cheese."

Helen Hayes

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"When traveling with someone, take large doses of patience and tolerance with your morning coffee."

Helen Hayes

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"The hardest years in life are those between ten and seventy."

Helen Hayes

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"They say stress is a killer. But I think no stress is equally deadly, especially as you get older. If your days just seem to slip by without any highs and lows, without some anxieties and pulse-quickening occurrences, you may not be really living."

Helen Hayes, in Helen Hayes with Marion Glasserow Gladney, Our Best Years (1986)

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"Why endeavor to straighten the road of life? The faster we travel, the less there is to see."

Helen Hayes, in Helen Hayes with Marion Glasserow Gladney, Our Best Years (1986)

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"When I was young, my producer, George Tyler, told me that were I four inches taller I could become one of the greatest actresses of my time. I decided to lick my size. A string of teachers pulled and stretched till I felt I was in a medieval torture chamber. I gained nary an inch -- but my posture become military. I became the tallest five-foot woman in the world. And my refusal to be limited by my limitations enabled me to play Mary of Scotland, one of the tallest queens in history."

Helen Hayes, with Sandford Dody, On Reflection, An Autobiography (1968)

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Helen Hayes, U.S. actor, writer
(1990 - 1993)

Full name: Helen Hayes Brown MacArthur