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helen hayes Quotes

Helen Hayes Quotes

Birth Date: 1900-10-10 (Wednesday, October 10th, 1900)
Date of Death: 1993-03-17 (Wednesday, March 17th, 1993)



    • The truth [is] that there is only one terminal dignity - love. And the story of 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.
    • Every human being 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.
    • An actress always knows when she's hit it and mostly you haven't; but once or twice I think I hit it right, so maybe that's good enough for one life.
    • People who refuse to rest honorably on their laurels when they reach 'retirement' age seem very admirable to me.
    • If you rest, you rust.
    • Actors cannot choose the manner in which they are born. Consequently, it is the one gesture in their lives completely devoid of self-consciousness.
    • We are indeed a strange lot! There are times we doubt that we have any emotions we can honestly call our own. I have approached every dynamic scene change in my life the same way. When I married Charlie MacArthur, I sat down and wondered how I could play the best wife that ever was.... My love for him was the truest thing in my life; but it was still important that I love him with proper effect, that I act loving him with great style, that I achieve the ultimate in wifedom.
    • The theatre demanded of its members stamina, good digestion, the ability to adjust, and a strong sense of humor. There was no discomfort an actor didn't learn to endure. To survive, we had to be horses and we were.
    • Actors work and slave-and it is the color of your hair that can determine your fate in the end.
    • The flattering, if arbitrary, label, First Lady of the Theatre, takes its toll. The demands are great, not only in energy but eventually in dramatic focus. It is difficult, if not impossible, for a star to occupy an inch of space without bursting seams, cramping everyone else's style and unbalancing a play. No matter how self-effacing a famous player may be, he makes an entrance as a casual neighbor and the audience interest shifts to the house next door.
    • The old-fashioned idea that the simple piling up of experiences, one on top of another, can make you an artist, is, of course, so much rubbish. If acting were just a matter of experience, then any busy harlot could make Garbo's Camille pale.
    • Egocentrics are attracted to the inept. It gives them one more excuse for patting themselves on the back.
    • Marriage is like a war. There are moments of chivalry and gallantry that attend the victorious advances and strategic retreats, the birth or death of children, the momentary conquest of loneliness, the sacrifice that ennobles him who makes it. But mostly there are the long dull sieges, the waiting, the terror and boredom. Women understand this better than men; they are better able to survive attrition.
    • Stardom can be a gilded slavery.
    • I cry out for order and find it only in art.
    • The good die young-but not always. The wicked prevail-but not consistently. I am confused by life, and I feel safe within the confines of the theatre.
    • The worst constructed play is a Bach fugue when compared to life.
    • After all my years in the theater, I can look back on only a handful of moments that met my own standards of perfection. When you transcend yourself and really get inside the character, it's like being touched by God. That happened to me once or twice while I was playing Victoria
    • Age is not important unless you're a cheese.
    • Although I don't look back warmly on this final stage of my career, at least I am not embarrassed by anything I was connected with. There were no horror pictures and no sleaze. Everything was geared to what they call 'family audiences.' I'm proud of that.
    • Celebrity has always struck me as a dubious and transitory claim to achievement in our society. Status seekers and other so-called glitterati stand precariously on shifting sands, ever in danger of being swallowed up and then replaced by a fresh throng of famous or notorious stars.
    • Childhood is a short season.
    • Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it did alright by me.
    • Feminism has its virtues, but I think we're pushing too hard, upsetting ourselves too much.
    • 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.
    • Hollywood can't believe that anyone does anything without an eye on the public, as if every actor wants to read about himself in the papers. It's depressing to think that such an artificial and unbalanced community exerts so much influence on our country.
    • I just always wanted to do the very best I could.
    • I think that personality is what buoyed me through my whole career. That, and my small stature. Whatever quality it was I had, people have always been protective of me.
    • I was the youngest star the New York stage ever had and it darn near wrecked me.
    • I'm leaving the screen because I don't think I am very good in the pictures and I have this beautiful dream that I'm elegant on the stage.
    • Legends die hard. They survive as truth rarely does.
    • Mere longevity is a good thing for those who watch Life from the side lines. For those who play the game, an hour may be a year, a single day's work an achievement for eternity.
    • My career from earliest childhood was like a bright shiny bucket in a bucket line - I was passed along from hand to hand with everyone helping.
    • My mother drew a distinction between achievement and success. She said that achievement is the knowledge that you have studied and worked hard and done the best that is in you. Success is being praised by others, and that's nice too, but not as important or satisfying. Always aim for achievement and forget about the success.
    • One has to grow up with good talk in order to form the habit of it.
    • Only the poet can look beyond the detail and see the whole picture.
    • Perhaps the absense of glamour contributed to my popularity. It may be that audiences felt comfortable with an actress who seemed cozy, approachable, unlike the flamboyant leading ladies I once knew in the theater.
    • Science has taught us to lengthen life. Now we must learn to make a longer life worth living. Older people deserve choices that let us live out our days as we wish. We've seen people making such choices all over America, and we realize what we might have known from the start: For most of us, there really is no place like home.
    • Sometimes I became so melancholic that I felt all actresses should be spayed so they couldn't have children. It's so very difficult to balance the careers of motherhood and the theater.
    • Sometimes when I'm asked what I've been doing since retirement, I'm tempted to answer, 'I accept honors.' That may sound egotistical, but the truth is that almost every honor or award - and I've collected quite a few, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom - has embarrassed me. Why single me out just for doing what was asked of me? I didn't go out and serve, but was always recruited for some service or another.
    • The hardest years in life are those between ten and seventy.
    • There were times at the theater when one or another of the young actors would make a pass, but invariably they reconsidered, deciding I was too 'sweet.' I was cursed with innocence.
    • We relish news of our heroes, forgetting that we are extraordinary to somebody too.
    • We rely upon the poets, the philosophers and the playwrights to articulate what most of us can only feel, in joy or sorrow. They illuminate the thoughts for which we only grope. They give us the strength and balm we cannot find in ourselves. Whenever I find my courage wavering I rush to them. They give me the wisdom of acceptance, the will and resilience to push on.
    • When traveling with someone, take large does of patience and tolerance with your morning coffee.
    • helen hayes

Quotes by Famous People

Who Were Also Born On October 10thWho Also Died On March 17th
Chiaki Kuriyama
Brett Favre
Alberto Giacometti
Helen Hayes
George F. Kennan
Helen Hayes
Fred Allen
Francois de La Rochefoucauld
Philip Massinger
Saint Patrick
Marcus Aurelius

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