Multiple Characters quotes

Bill Sampson Bill Sampson: Zanuck is impatient. He wants me, he needs me.

Bill Sampson: The theatah, the theatAh - what book of rules says the theater exists only within some ugly buildings crowded into one square mile of New York City? Or London, Paris, or Vienna? Listen, junior. And learn. Want to know what the theater is? A flea circus. Also opera. Also rodeos, carnivals, ballets, Indian tribal dances, Punch and Judy, a one-man band - all theater. Wherever there's magic and make-believe and an audience - there's theater. Donald Duck, Ibsen, and the Lone Ranger. Sarah Bernhardt and Poodles Hanneford, Lunt and Fontanne, Betty Grable, Rex the Wild Horse, Eleanora Duse - they're all theater. You don't understand them, you don't like them all - why should you? The theater's for everybody - you included, but not exclusively - so don't approve or disapprove. It may not be your theater, but it's theater for somebody, somewhere...It's just that there's so much bourgeois in this ivory green room they call the theater. Sometimes it gets up around my chin.

Max Fabian: She loves me like a father. Also, she's loaded.

Old Actor: [about Eve] We know her humility, her devotion, her loyalty to her art, her love, her deep and abiding love for us, for what we are and what we do, the theater. She has had one wish, one prayer, one dream - to belong to us. Tonight, her dream has come true. And henceforth, we shall dream the same of her.

Birdie: What a story! Everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end.
Margo: There are some human experiences, Birdie, that do not take place in a vaudeville house - and that even a fifth-rate vaudevillian should understand and respect!

Margo: Bill, don't get stuck on some glamour-puss.
Bill: I'll try.
Margo: You're not much of a bargain, you know. You're conceited, and thoughtless and messy.
Bill: Well, everybody can't be Gregory Peck.
Margo: You're a set-up for some gorgeous, wide-eyed young bait.
Bill: How childish are you going to get before you stop it?
Margo: I don't want to be childish. I'll settle for a few years.
Bill: Then cut that out right now.
Margo: Am I going to lose you, Bill? Am I?
Bill: As of this moment, you're six years old.

Margo: You bought the new girdle a size smaller. I can feel it.
Birdie: Somethin' maybe grew a size larger.

Bill: We started talking. She wanted to know about Hollywood. She seemed so interested.
Margo: She's a girl of so many interests.
Bill: A pretty rare quality these days.
Margo: A girl of so many rare qualities.
Bill: So she seems.
Margo: So you've pointed out so often. So many qualities so often. Her loyalty, efficiency, devotion, warmth, and affection, and so young. So young and so fair.
Bill: I can't believe you're making this up...Of course it's funny. This is all too laughable to be anything else. You know what I feel about this age obsession of yours. And now this ridiculous attempt to whip yourself up into a jealous froth because I spent ten minutes with a stage-struck kid.
Margo: Twenty.
Bill: Thirty minutes, forty minutes, what of it?
Margo: Stage-struck kid! She's a young lady of quality. And I'll have you know I'm fed up with both the young lady and her qualities. Studying me as if I were a play or a blueprint, how I walk, talk, think, act, sleep.
Bill: Now, how can you take offense at a kid trying in every way to be as much like her ideal as possible?
Margo: Stop calling her a kid. As it happens, there are particular aspects of my life to which I would like to maintain sole and exclusive rights and privileges.
Bill: For instance what?
Margo: For instance you.
Bill: This is my cue to take you in my arms and reassure you. But I'm not going to. I'm too mad...
Margo: [interrupting] Guilty.
Bill: ...Mad! Darling, there are certain characteristics for which you are famous onstage and off. I love you for some of them in spite of others. I haven't let those become too important. They're part of your equipment for getting along in what is laughingly called our environment. You have to keep your teeth sharp, all right. But I will not have you sharpen them on me - or on Eve.
Margo: What about her teeth? What about her fangs?
Bill: She hasn't cut them yet, and you know it! So when you start judging an idealistic, dreamy-eyed kid by the barroom benzedrine standards of this megalomaniac society, I won't have it. Eve Harrington has never by a word, a look, or a suggestion indicated anything to me but her adoration for you and her happiness at our being in love. And to intimate anything else doesn't spell jealousy to me. It spells out paranoiac insecurity that you should be ashamed of.
Margo: Cut! Brilliant! What happens in the next reel? Do I get dragged off screaming to the snake pit?

Karen: Margo, nothing you've ever done has made me as happy as your taking Eve in.
Margo: I'm so happy you're happy.

Eve: I'm afraid Mr. De Witt would find me boring before too long.
Miss Casswell: You won't bore him, honey. You won't even get a chance to talk.

De Witt: Do you see that man? That's Max Fabian, the producer. Now go and do yourself some good.
Miss Casswell: Why do they always look like unhappy rabbits?
De Witt: Because that's what they are. Now go and make him happy.

Bill: Many of your guests have been wondering when they may be permitted to view the body. Where has it been laid out?
Margo: It hasn't been laid out. We haven't finished with the embalming. As a matter of fact, you're looking at it - the remains of Margo Channing, sitting up. It is my last wish to be buried sitting up.
Bill: Wouldn't it be more natural for you to be taking a bow?

Miss Casswell: Now there's something a girl could make sacrifices for.
Bill: And probably has.
Miss Casswell: Sable.
Max Fabian: Sable? Did she say sable or Gable?
Miss Casswell: Either one.

De Witt: We're a breed apart from the rest of humanity, we theater folk. We are the original displaced personalities.
Miss Casswell: [interrupting] Oh, waiter!
De Witt: That isn't a waiter, my dear. That's a butler.
Miss Casswell: Well, I can't yell, 'Oh, butler!' can I? Maybe somebody's name is Butler.
De Witt: You have a point. An idiotic one, but a point.
Miss Casswell: I don't want to make trouble. All I want is a drink.
Max: Leave it to me. I'll get you one.
Miss Caswell: [smiling] Thank you, Mr. Fabian.
De Witt: Well done. I can see your career rising in the east like the sun.

Bill: To be a good actor or actress or anything else in the theatre means wanting to be that more than anything else in the world.
Eve: [softly] Yes, yes it does.
Bill: It means concentration of desire or ambition, and sacrifice such as no other profession demands. And I'll agree that the man or woman who accepts those terms can't be ordinary, can't be just someone. To give so much for almost always so little.
Eve: So little. So little, did you say? Why, if there's nothing else, there's applause. I've listened backstage to people applaud. It's like, like waves of love coming over the footlights and wrapping you up. Imagine. To know, every night, that different hundreds of people love you. They smile, and their eyes shine. You've pleased them. They want you. You belong. Just that alone is worth anything.

Margo: [to Eve] And please stop acting as if I were the Queen-Mother.
Eve: I'm sorry, I didn't...
Bill: Outside of a beehive, Margo, your behavior would hardly be considered either queenly or motherly.
Margo: You're in a beehive, pal. Didn't you know? We're all busy little bees, full of stings, making honey, day and night. [To Eve] Aren't we, honey?
Karen: Margo, really.
Margo: Please don't play governess, Karen. I haven't your unyielding good taste. I wish I could have gone to Radcliffe too, but father wouldn't hear of it. He needed help behind the notions counter. I'm being rude now, aren't I? Or should I say, ain't I?
De Witt: You're maudlin and full of self-pity. You're magnificent.
Lloyd: How about calling it a night?
Margo: And you, posing as a playwright, a situation pregnant with possibilities and all you can think of is everybody go to sleep.

Margo: [to Bill] You be host. It's your party. Happy birthday, welcome home. And we who are about to die...
De Witt: Too bad, we're gonna miss the third act. They're gonna play it off stage.

De Witt: [about Eve] It wasn't a reading. It was a performance. Brilliant, vivid, something made of music and fire.
Margo: How nice.
De Witt: In time, she'll be what you are.
Margo: A mass of music and fire.

Miss Casswell: Now what?
De Witt: Your next move, it seems to me, should be towards television.
Miss Casswell: Tell me this. Do they have auditions for television?
De Witt: That's, uh, all television is, my dear. Nothing but auditions.

Margo: All playwrights should be dead for three hundred years!
Lloyd: That would solve none of their problems, because actresses never die. The stars never die and never change.
Margo: You may change this star any time you want for a new and fresh and exciting one, fully equipped with fire and music. Anytime you want, starting with tonight's performance....
Lloyd: I shall never understand the weird process by which a body with a voice suddenly fancies itself as a mind. Just when exactly does an actress decide they're her words she's saying and her thoughts she's expressing?
Margo: Usually at the point when she has to rewrite and rethink them to keep the audience from leaving the theater.
Lloyd: It's about time the piano realized it has not written the concerto!
Margo: And you, I take it, are the Paderewski who plays his concerto on me, the piano?

Bill: The gong rang, the fight's over. Calm down.
Margo: I will not calm down.
Bill: Don't calm down.
Margo: You're being terribly tolerant, aren't you?
Bill: I'm trying terribly hard.
Margo: But you needn't be. I will not be tolerated and I will not be plotted against.
Bill: Here we go.
Margo: Such nonsense. What do you all take me for - Little Nell from the country? Been my understudy for over a week without my knowing it, carefully hidden no doubt.
Bill: I am sick and tired of these paranoiac outbursts...For the last time, I'll tell it to you. You've got to stop hurting yourself and me and the two of us by these paranoiac tantrums...You're a beautiful and an intelligent woman, and a great actress. A great actress at the peak of her career. You have every reason for happiness...but due to some strange, uncontrollable, unconscious drive, you permit the slightest action of...a kid like Eve to turn you into an hysterical, screaming harpy. Now, once and for all, stop it!
Margo: I'll admit I may have seen better days, but I'm still not to be had for the price of a ****tail, like a salted peanut.

Margo: So many people know me. I wish I did. I wish someone would tell me about me.
Karen: You're Margo, just Margo.
Margo: And what is that besides something spelled out in lightbulbs, I mean, besides something called a temperament which consists mostly of swooping about on a broomstick and screaming at the top of my voice. Infants behave the way I do, you know. They carry on and misbehave. They'd get drunk if they knew how, when they can't have what they want. When they feel unwanted or insecure or unloved.

Margo: Bill's in love with Margo Channing. He's fought with her, worked with her, and loved her. But ten years from now, Margo Channing will have ceased to exist. And what's left will be - what?
Karen: Margo, Bill is all of eight years younger than you.
Margo: Those years stretch as the years go on. I've seen it happen too often.
Karen: Not to you, not to Bill.
Margo: Isn't that what they always say?...About Eve, I've acted pretty disgracefully toward her too.
Karen: Well,...
Margo: Don't fumble for excuses, not here and now with my hair down. At best, let's say I've been oversensitive to her...to the fact that she's so young, so feminine and so helpless, too so many things I want to be for Bill. Funny business, a woman's career. The things you drop on your way up the ladder so you can move faster. You forget you'll need them again when you get back to being a woman. There's one career all females have in common - whether we like it or not: being a woman. Sooner or later, we've got to work at it, no matter how many other careers we've had or wanted. And, in the last analysis, nothing is any good unless you can look up just before dinner or turn around in bed - and there he is. Without that, you're not a woman. You're something with a French provincial office or a - a book full of clippings, but you're not a woman. Slow curtain. The End.

Bill: ...you did it. With work and patience, you'll be a good actress if that's what you want to be.
Eve: [purring] Is that what you want me to be?
Bill: I'm talking about you and what you want.
Eve: So am I.
Bill: What have I got to do with it?
Eve: Everything.
Bill: Names I've been called, but never Svengali. Good luck.
Eve: Don't run away, Bill.
Bill: From what would I be running?
Eve: You're always after truth on the stage. What about off?
Bill: I'm for it.
Eve: Then face it. I have. Ever since that first night here in this dressing room.
Bill: When I told you what every young actress should know?
Eve: When you told me that whatever I became it would be because of you...
Bill: Makeup's a little heavy.
Eve: ...and for you.
Bill: You're quite a girl.
Eve: You think?
Bill: I'm in love with Margo. Hadn't you heard?
Eve: You're all kinds of things.
Bill: I'm only human, rumors to the contrary. And I'm as curious as the next man.
Eve: Find out.
Bill: The only thing - what I go after, I want to go after. I don't want it to come after me. Don't cry. Just score it as an incomplete forward pass.

De Witt: But if I may make a suggestion...I think the time has come for you to shed some of your humility. It is just as false not to blow your horn at all as it is to blow it too loudly.
Eve: I don't think I have anything to sound off about.
De Witt: We all come into this world with our little egos, equipped with individual horns. Now if we don't blow them, who else will?
Eve: Even so, one pretty good performance by an understudy - it'll be forgotten by tomorrow.
De Witt: It needn't be.

Eve: You take charge.
De Witt: I believe I will.

Lloyd: For once to write something and have it realized completely. For once not to compromise.
Karen: Lloyd Richards! You are not to consider giving that contemptible little worm the part of Cora.
Lloyd: Now just a minute.
Karen: Margo Channing's not been exactly a compromise all these years. Why, half the playwrights in the world would give their shirts for that particular compromise.
Lloyd: Now just a minute.
Karen: It strikes me that Eve's disloyalty and ingratitude must be contagious.
Lloyd: All this fuss and hysteria because an impulsive kid got carried away by excitement and the conniving of a professional manure-slinger named De Witt. She apologized, didn't she?
Karen: On her knees, I've no doubt. Very touching. Very Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Lloyd: That bitter cynicism of yours is something you've acquired since you left Radcliffe.
Karen: That cynicism you refer to I acquired the day I discovered I was different from little boys.

Bill: The so-called art of acting is not one for which I have a particularly-high regard...But you may quote me as follows. Quote: 'Tonight, Miss Margo Channing gave a performance in your ****amamie play the like of which I have never seen before and expect rarely to see again.' Unquote....I shall propose the toast. Without wit. With all my heart. To Margo. To my bride-to-be.
Margo: Glory, Hallelujah.

Margo: Encore du champagne.
Waiter: More champagne, Miss Channing?
Margo: That's what I said, bub.

Eve: If you told him (Lloyd) so, he'd give me the part. He said he would...It's my part now...Cora is my part. You've got to tell Lloyd it's for me...Addison wants me to play it...Addison knows how Margo happened to miss that performance, how I happened to know she'd miss it in time to call him and notify every paper in town...If I play Cora, Addison will never tell what happened, in or out of print. A simple exchange of favors. I'm so happy I can do something for you at long last. Your friendship with Margo - your deep, close friendship. What would happen to it, do you think, if she knew the cheap trick you played on her for my benefit? You and Lloyd. How long, even in the theater, before people forgot what happened and trusted you again? No, it would be so much easier for everyone concerned if I would play Cora. So much better theater too.
Karen: You'd do all that just for a part in a play?
Eve: I'd do much more for a part that good.

De Witt: And tomorrow morning, you will have won your beachhead on the shores of immortality.
Eve: Stop rehearsing your column. Isn't it strange, Addison? I thought I'd be panic-stricken, want to run away or something. Instead, I can't wait for tonight to come, to come and go.
De Witt: Are you that sure of tomorrow?
Eve: Aren't you?
De Witt: Frankly, yes.
Eve: It will be a night to remember. It will bring me everything I've ever wanted. The end of an old road. The beginning of a new one.
De Witt: All paved with diamonds and gold?
Eve: You know me better than that.
De Witt: It's paved with what, then?
Eve: Stars...Plenty of time for a nice long nap. We rehearsed most of last night.
De Witt: You could sleep now, couldn't you?
Eve: Why not?
De Witt: The mark of a true killer. Sleep tight, rest easy, and come out fighting.
Eve: Why did you call me a killer?
De Witt: Oh, did I say killer? I meant champion. I get my boxing terms mixed.

Eve: The setting wasn't romantic, but Lloyd was. He woke me up at three o'clock in the morning banging on my door. He couldn't sleep, he said. He'd left Karen. Couldn't go on with the play or anything else until I promised to marry him. We sat and talked until it was light. He never went home.
De Witt: You 'sat and talked' until it was light?
Eve: We 'sat and talked' Addison. I want a run-of-the-play contract.
De Witt: There never was and there never will be another like you...[rising] What do you take me for?
Eve: I don't know that I'd take you for anything.
De Witt: Is it possible, even conceivable, that you've confused me with that gang of backward children you play tricks on? That you have the same contempt for me as you have for them?...Look closely, Eve. It's time you did. I am Addison De Witt. I am nobody's fool. Least of all - yours.
Eve: I never intended you to be.
De Witt: Yes you did and you still do...It's important right now that we talk - killer to killer.
Eve: Champion to champion.
De Witt: Not with me, you're no champion. You're stepping way up in class.
Eve: Addison, will you please say what you have to say, plainly and distinctly, and then get out so I can take my nap.
De Witt: Very well. Plainly and distinctly...Lloyd may leave Karen, but he will not leave Karen for you.
Eve: What do you mean by that?
De Witt: More plainly and more distinctly? I have not come to New Haven to see the play, discuss your dreams, or pull the ivy from the walls of Yale. I've come here to tell you that you will not marry Lloyd or anyone else for that matter because I will not permit it.
Eve: What have you got to do with it?
De Witt: Everything, because after tonight, you will belong to me.
Eve: [laughs] Belong to you? That sounds medieval, something out of an old melodrama.
[De Witt slaps her sharply across the face]
De Witt: Now remember as long as you live, never to laugh at me. At anything or anyone else, but never at me.

De Witt: San Francisco has no Shubert Theater. You've never been to San Francisco! That was a stupid lie, easy to expose, not worthy of you.
Eve: I had to get in to meet Margo! I had to say something, be somebody, make her like me!

Phoebe: I call myself Phoebe.
De Witt: And why not? Tell me, Phoebe, do you want someday to have an award like that of your own?
Phoebe: More than anything else in the world.
De Witt: Then you must ask Miss Harrington how to get one. Miss Harrington knows all about it.

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