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Hollywood

  • Writers who go to Hollywood still follow the classic pattern: either you get disgusted by 'them' and you leave or you want the money and you become them.

  • Hollywood is the only place on earth that has more vampires, more undead, more resurrections than a month of Easter Sundays.

  • Hollywood's a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss, and fifty cents for your soul.

  • In Hollywood, a girl's virtue is much less important than her hair-do.

    • Marilyn Monroe,
    • in Herb Boyd, Seductive Sayings: Marilyn Monroe Her Own Words ()
  • Hollywood money isn't money. It's congealed snow, melts in your hand, and there you are.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Malcolm Cowley, ed., Writers at Work, 1st series ()
  • Sure, you make money writing on the coast ... but that money is like so much compressed snow. It goes so fast it melts in your hand.

  • The only 'ism' Hollywood really believes in is plagiarism.

  • Hollywood is the only place in the world where an amicable divorce means each one gets fifty percent of the publicity.

  • I'll miss Hollywood. Of the twenty friends I thought I had, I'll miss the six I really had.

    • Lauren Bacall,
    • 1944, in Clifton Fadiman and André, Bartlett's Book of Anecdotes, rev. ed. ()
  • When you're a failure in Hollywood — that's like starving to death outside a banquet hall with the smells of filet mignon driving you crazy.

    • Marilyn Monroe,
    • in Herb Boyd, Seductive Sayings: Marilyn Monroe Her Own Words ()
  • Fame is no sanctuary from the passing of youth. Suicide is much easier and more acceptable in Hollywood than growing old gracefully.

  • ... in Hollywood there are only two sins: to be dull and to be desperate.

  • ... Hollywood is tough for everyone ... but when the industry gets a cold, members of the nondominant groups get pneumonia.

  • Los Angeles people are incapable of passively mainlining TV and movies. Here you have to read who produced or directed every episode, who wrote it, who had guests shots and whether you know them personally and if they like you. You have to figure out who everybody's agent is and whether yours is better. You not only know but deeply care about the difference between such job titles as Producer, Supervising Producer, and Executive Story Editor. ... So while the rest of the country is lying stupid in a media-induced coma, people in L.A. are in constant withdrawal.

  • ... success in L.A. is completely arbitrary. One day you're the brilliant genius of life, the next day people act like there's a bad smell when you approach. Lots of expensive, late-model cars are offered in the L.A. Times every day by people who have suddenly begun to smell bad. The stakes are just too high for human dignity.

  • Where is Hollywood located? Chiefly between the ears. In that part of the American brain lately vacated by God.

  • People in the land of LaLa look like expensive wax fruit. And they work hard to achieve that look.

  • All agree that it is wrong to be bound to Hollywood; though no one has suspected that the bonds, instead of money or fleshpots or easy work, might be the joys of shared effort. I give something which, though my own, becomes part of something beyond me; and Hollywood's pull for me becomes the pull felt by the member of any order.

  • ... the convictions of Hollywood and television are made of boiled money.

  • [On Hollywood:] ... in this business, nice is just another word for stupid. Nice and a nickel will buy you a phone call.

  • The bite of existence did not cut into one in Hollywood ... Life elsewhere was real and slippery and struggled in the arms like a big fish dying in air.

  • Hollywood was like a mouse being followed by a cat called television.

  • Hollywood is a mirage factory ...

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1958, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 6 ()
  • You can't find any true closeness in Hollywood because everybody does the fake closeness so well.

  • The early symptoms of the disease [California Curse], which break out almost on arrival in Hollywood, are a sense of exaggerated self-importance and self-centeredness which naturally alienates all old friends. Next comes a great desire for and belief in the importance of money above all else, a loss of the normal sense of humor and proportion and finally, in extreme cases, the abandonment of all previous standards of moral value.

  • I was absorbing a sorry truth of show business — rejection is the norm and acceptance the oddity. I was learning to cut the tops off my highs and stay with the lows where the rejections and letdowns would be shallow.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • with Richard Merryman, Enter Talking ()
  • Show business can be an addiction. ... An audience would laugh at me one night, and I would chase that high for another three months.

    • Joan Rivers,
    • with Richard Merryman, Still Talking ()
  • ... in Hollywood, everyone wants what someone else wants. It's like a law.

  • In Hollywood, you're never any better than your last picture.

  • The most remarkable thing about Hollywood is that it does not exist. ... Hollywood, in a word, has no center, never had one, no city hall, court house, church, square, or rather it probably has some of those but they're so aimlessly thrown in with the general jumble ... that I, for one, never found them.

  • That's how it always is in the entertainment industry, your feet are always treading Jello.

  • ... Hollywood works continually to keep its standard of contempt for the audience.

  • In Hollywood, primitive magical thinking exists side by side with the most advanced technology.

  • The Hollywood atmosphere of crises and continuous anxiety is a kind of hysteria which prevents people from thinking, and is not too different from the way dictators use wars and continuous threats of war as an emotional basis for maintaining their power.

  • In Hollywood, the ... basic freedom of being able to choose between alternatives is absent. The gifted people who have the capacity for choice cannot exercise it; the executives who technically have the freedom of choice do not actually have it, because they usually lack the knowledge and imagination necessary for making such a choice.

  • Hollywood represents totalitarianism. Its basis is economic rather than political but its philosophy is similar to that of the totalitarian state.

  • Almost no one trusts anyone else, and the executives, particularly, trust no one, not even themselves.

  • Only a small percentage of novelists, painters, musicians, scientists, anywhere in the world, are talented. But there are many more in Hollywood than one would expect from looking at movies.

  • Hollywood provides ready-made fantasies or daydreams; the problem is whether these are productive or nonproductive, whether the audience is psychologically enriched or impoverished.

  • You cannot live in Los Angeles for any period of time without eventually trying to write a screenplay. It's like a flu bug that you catch ... Even the plumber has a screenplay in his truck.

  • Every sacred cow in the business has to do with economics.

  • Before you begin working your way into the system, it is imperative that you are ready to be judged. You are only new once. ... You are only ready when you can orchestrate the next move after you have the industry's attention.

  • We were worse name-droppers than people who dropped our names. Another actor was a 'best friend,' 'know him very well,' 'died in my arms,' 'gave him his first break in that picture of mine.'

  • ... it's difficult in Hollywood to be allowed to try anything. It's all a terrible compromise. There is no time for art. All that matters is what they call box office.

  • ... Hollywood's old trick: repeat a successful formula until it dies.

  • To whom one reports is a unit of measure. It measures the exact distance between the player and the center of power. It is the closest we can get to a calibrated answer to the question 'How big am I?' More than the size of an executive's office or even his title, which no one remembers anyway, the fewer people between the player and a 'yes,' the more powerful he is.

  • Subtext here is text. Don't be shy about it; embrace the vulgar in your clothes and in your speech. Subtlety is wasted in Hollywood.

  • [On filmmaking:] Cardinal rule: It's a youth business.

  • My sense of Los Angeles was very New York provincial, as in 'all those people are crazy out there' (which they are), and stupid (which they're not), and immoral (it's more interesting than that).

  • My goal has been to learn how to get movies made without losing sight of the reasons I began. I have had to learn to recognize the insidious nature of the beast without becoming one.

  • Ego problems are endemic in every walk of life, but in the movie business egomaniacs are megalomaniacs.

  • The first thing you notice about women in Hollywood, besides their low percentage of body fat, is how few are married. And the number of great-looking, successful single women without a social life is staggering. ... The most glaring misconception about Hollywood is that it is the romance capital of the world.

  • Love and friendship, two of life's abiding rewards, are endangered species in Hollywood. People crave both, mistaking alliance for friendship, lust for love, and ambition for both.

  • Always remember the famous adage about the movie business: You can't make a living, you can only get rich.

  • Like the tectonic plate it sits upon, Hollywood is subject to seismic jolts and constant tremors. Each season erupts with a new champion, and every so often a genuine earthquake will tear down the apparently secure infrastructure.

  • Lying is a critical job skill; poker is as good a starter course as film school. How else would you know that the line 'Sandra Bullock wants to do this' really means 'It's on her agent's desk,' and 'Three studios are bidding on this script' means 'Everyone's passed but one buyer who hasn't answered yet.'

  • ... the Hollywood idea of life was much more satisfactory than life itself. For years Vera had been trying to remold reality in the shape of a Hollywood film.

  • You're only as good as your last picture.

    • Marie Dressler,
    • in Hedda Hopper and James Brough, The Whole Truth and Nothing But ()
  • No matter what you say about the town, and anything you say probably is true, there's never been another like it.

  • Our town worships success, the bitch goddess whose smile hides a taste for blood.

  • Harry Cohn was a man you had to stand in line to hate.

  • Entertainment must be a satisfying emotional experience, a stirring of the heart. We need all kinds of young men and women. Those people with an artist's eye and an executive's brain that we term directors. Those wrestlers with their souls and typewriters known as authors. The beggars on horseback called actors and actresses.

    • Hedda Hopper,
    • in Hedda Hopper and James Brough, The Whole Truth and Nothing But ()
  • Two of the cruelest, most primitive punishments our town deals out to those who have fallen from favor are the empty mailbox and the silent telephone.

    • Hedda Hopper,
    • in Hedda Hopper and James Brough, The Whole Truth and Nothing But ()
  • Hollywood was always heartbreak town, though most of the world fancied it to be Shangri-La, King Solomon's mines, and Fort Knox rolled into one big ball of 24-karat gold.

    • Hedda Hopper,
    • in Hedda Hopper and James Brough, The Whole Truth and Nothing But ()
  • I got around a lot, and lots of people talked to me. I salted down stories by the barrel load.

    • Hedda Hopper,
    • in Hedda Hopper and James Brough, The Whole Truth and Nothing But ()
  • Smart writers never understand why their satires on our town are never successful. What they refuse to accept is that you can't satirize a satire.

  • ... the propaganda arm of the American Dream machine, Hollywood.

    • Molly Haskell,
    • From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies
    • ()
  • Hollywood always had a streak of the totalitarian in just about everything it did. The old moguls were essentially hard-fisted authoritarians who had created a system of linked dictatorships to control the creative people. We were supposed to be the children; mad, tempestuous, brilliant, talented, not terribly smart children.

  • ... no one ever really leaves Hollywood. No one really leaves unless they are called away by God. Even then, the impulse would be to come back again and make a movie about the experience.

  • Producers come in two varieties, those that want to be loved and those that want to be feared.

  • We were so totally owned by the studio we could have had 'Property of MGM' tattoed on our backsides without raising the slightest objection.

    • Joan Crawford,
    • in Roy Newquist, Conversations With Joan Crawford ()
  • If you stay away from parties, you're called a snob. If you go, you're an exhibitionist. If you don't talk, you're dumb. If you do talk, you're quarrelsome. Pardon me while I change my nail polish.

  • One cannot overstate the potential for hysteria on a movie set. Everyone always acts as if making the movie is as important as eradicating malaria.

  • Hollywood is a strange place when you're in trouble. Everyone is afraid it's contagious.

  • Hollywood — that's a place where love is viewed both pragmatically and philosophically in the saying, 'Tis better to have loved and divorced than never to have had any publicity at all.'

  • There is no blacklist. In the first place, in the entertainment business, money talks, bullshit walks. So Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins won't be blacklisted because they are bankable stars. In the second place, if you are a woman, the only things you're going to be blacklisted for in Hollywood are body fat and aging.

  • Hollywood is the same as any other place when it comes to love, marriage, and divorce ... some people have trouble staying married and some people have trouble staying single.

  • Every star knows you step on some toes to get where you're going — and some more after you get there. Nobody means to hurt anybody else, it just happens. You always keep saying in the back of your mind that one day you will be able to right all the wrongs. That someday almost never comes.

  • ... the one outstanding quality it possesses is not the lavishness, the perpetual sunshine, the golden opportunities, but fear. Fear stalks the sound stages, the publicity departments, the executive offices. ... most of us actors, writers, directors, even those in the publicity and makeup departments knew that the industry was a day-by-day business, that layoffs, suspensions, idle weeks and even months were part of the pattern.

  • Hollywood is the sort of town where you wake up in the morning and look out to see if it's still there. I expect the whole movie colony to pick up its tents one night and go back to whatever fairyland they came from.

  • ... it's a funny thing about Hollywood. Once you've been out here awhile, it's hard to go someplace else, and it gets harder the longer you stay here. Takes some real propulsion to make you leave.

  • [On Hollywood:] This is no town for a come back, people are too unsure of themselves.

  • You know, when I first went into the movies Lionel Barrymore played my grandfather. Later he played my father and finally he played my husband. If he had lived I'm sure I would have played his mother. That's the way it is in Hollywood. The men get younger and the women get older.

    • Lillian Gish,
    • in Stuart Oderman, Lillian Gish: A Life on Stage and Screen ()
  • Hollywood — an emotional Detroit.

  • ... if you play the numbers game and become obsessed with it, as so many in Hollywood are, sooner or later you have to face the depressing fact that if you are number one the only place you can go is down.

    • Doris Day,
    • in A.E. Hotchner, Doris Day: Her Own Story ()
  • In its heyday, Hollywood reflected, if it did not actually produce, the sexual climate of our land.

  • ... with a mental equipment which allows me to tell the difference between hot and cold, I stand out in this community like a modern day Cicero. Dropped into any other city of the world, I'd rate as a possibly adequate night watchman.

  • Youth and nepotism, the twin horsemen of Hollywood!

  • [On Hollywood:] I felt like a streetwalker. Fear covers everything out here like smog. There is no respect for privacy.

  • ... no one has a closest friend in Hollywood ...

  • [On Hollywood:] It looks, it feels, as though it had been invented by a Sixth Avenue peepshow man.

  • Starlet ... That's Hollywood for photogenic female, unemployed.

  • Delay and indecision are first weapons in the armory of moviemakers.

  • Men in Hollywood don't think of women in connection with talking, my sweet, whether rationally or otherwise. A woman is either a babe, a name in pictures, or your own wife.

  • ... the road to Hollywood seems always to be a one-way street. First-rate writers go out there and make a success in pictures. But whoever knew the man who made a success in pictures and left the place to become a first-rate writer?

  • The one thing success does for you in Hollywood is allow you to lie to yourself. Success makes you think you have principles.

  • Hollywood is a place where everybody is scared — for good reason.

  • The sheer gutlessness of the people who make the decisions at the major Hollywood studios — and I want you to quote me — is terrifying ... It makes one feel that to try to make a career in motion pictures is kamikaze work.

  • Cynthia wanted to know if she'd come out here to be discovered. When Linda looked blank for a moment, Cynthia laughed and said, 'How refereshing!' Everybody else, she assured Linda, was trying to break into the industry, on one level or another. Waiters, parking attendants, supermarket clerks. Her own houseman took method-acting classes, and her secretary wrote screenplays in her spare time. Cynthia said she half expected her dentist to break into song and dance during a root canal.

  • Who do you have to fuck to get out of show business?

    • Shirley Wood,
    • in Bob Chieger, Was It Good for You, Too? ()
  • Hollywood, America's greatest modern contribution to world culture, is a business, a religion, an art form, and a state of mind.

    • Camille Paglia,
    • "Elizabeth Taylor: Hollywood's Pagan Queen," Sex, Art, and American Culture ()
  • My dream is to have someday a bank of TVs, where all the different channels could be on and I could be monitoring them. I would love that. The more the better. I love the tabloid stuff. The trashier the program is, the more I feel it's TV. ... Because that's TV's mode. That's the Age of Hollywood. The idea of PBS — heavy-duty "Masterpiece Theater," Bill Moyers — I hate all that.

    • Camille Paglia,
    • in Stewart Brand, "Scream of Consciousness," Wired ()
  • Hollywood is the great thing that America has done and given to the world.

    • Camille Paglia,
    • in Stewart Brand, "Scream of Consciousness," Wired ()
  • To get fifty people to a cocktail party in New York, you ask one hundred. In Hollywood, you invite twenty.

    • Elsa Maxwell,
    • in Malcolm Forbes, Women Who Made a Difference ()
  • In Hollywood, not to have an analyst is virtually an admission of failure ...

  • Hollywood isn't a place, it's a way of life.

  • I noticed that the actors were nervous about their agents, the agents nervous about studio producers, the producers about the chiefs of production, the chiefs of production about the studio heads, the studio heads about the banking firms in New York who financed the studios. By this time I was nervous too. So I cut through the red tape, and went to the natural habitat of the millionaire, New York. I figured to myself, why be nervous with somebody twelve times removed? Go to the City, Doris, and be nervous right up at the source.

  • ... don't consider Hollywood unless you have: The ambition of a Latin-American revolutionary; The ego of a grand opera tenor; And the physical stamina of a cow pony.

    • Billie Burke,
    • with Cameron Shipp, With Powder on My Nose ()
  • [On the casting couch:] If this is the way to fame and fortune, movies and TV, it's a fate worse than debt.

  • [On location in the Mojave desert for endless weeks for Cecil B. DeMille's Ten Commandments:] Who do you have to sleep with to get off this picture?

    • Olive Deering,
    • in Tony Randall and Michael Mindlin, Which Reminds Me ()
  • Glamour is just sex that got civilized.

  • Louis B. Mayer and I got along like a house afire. He never chased me around his desk or tried anything with me. Of course, he never gave me any good parts, either.

  • ... no one ever went broke in Hollywood underestimating the intelligence of the public ...

  • [On Hollywood:] I had gone there expecting to see parties that reflected the stock-in-trade of the movies — glamour. Instead, I found the same attitude toward parties that European peasants had for baths. It was something to be done methodically every Saturday night ...

  • There are only three ages for women in Hollywood — Babe, District Attorney, and Driving Miss Daisy.

  • [At the 1987 Emmy Awards:] I'd like to thank everyone who helped make this award possible. The rest of you will be in the book.

  • ... that's what Hollywood's all about: dreams. For as long as it's existed, it's been a destination for people who have aspired to better lives and better selves — a place of endless possibility, invention, and reinvention, of aspiration and inspiration. There's an abundance of hope in Hollywood, as if it's fueled by the sun, and maybe it is.

  • ... if a star or studio chief or any other great movie personages find themselves sitting among a lot of nobodies, they get frightened — as if somebody was trying to demote them.

    • Marilyn Monroe,
    • in Randall Riese and Neal Hitchens, The Unabridged Marilyn: Her Life From A to Z ()