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I was seven when Maureen O'Sullivan said, "What are you going to be when you grow up?" and I said, "I'm going to be an actress."
My parents were absolutely delighted that I knew what I wanted to do.
My parents were French and Irish and our family even has Spanish blood-and I do so love the United States and consider myself part American.
I will not be ignored (1935).
English people don't have very good diction. In France you have to pronounce very particularly and clearly, and learning French at an early age helped me enormously.
I never found accents difficult, after learning languages.
ABOUT THEATRES and PLAYS
I feel part of a great theatrical tradition. (1937)
When I was at school at Paris, I had special lessons from Mademoiselle Antoine, who was an actress at the Comedie Francaise, and I was taken to every sort of play - which the other girls weren't allowed to go to - and so I felt very grand.
Classical plays require more imagination and more general training to be able to do. That's why I like playing Shakespeare better than anything else.
Comedy is much more difficult than tragedy - and a much better training, I think. It's much easier to make people cry than to make them laugh.
Every single night I'm nervous. You never know how the audience is going to react.
I don't know what that Method is. Acting is life, to me, and should be.
I think any classical training in the theatre is of enormous value.
One is just an interpreter of what the playwright thinks, and therefore the greater the playwright, the more satisfying it is to act in the plays.
People think that if you look fairly reasonable, you can't possibly act, and as I only care about acting, I think beauty can be a great handicap.
Shaw is like a train. One just speaks the words and sits in one's place. But Shakespeare is like bathing in the sea - one swims where one wants.
Streetcar is a most wonderful, wonderful play.
When I come into the theatre at night, I get a sense of security... I get in early - an hour and a half before curtain-up. I say the part over myself every night, however well I know it - not aloud, just to myself... Sometimes I dread the truth of the lines I say. But the dread must never show. That is the wonderful discipline of the theater. I love the theater for that discipline, because outside I'm not disciplined at all. I'm imulsive...
I love an audience. I love people, and I act because I like trying to give pleasure to people.
I think all this talk about acting is - you just have to act, you have to do the thing, you have to practice the art, just like a painter practices his art, just like a writer writes.
You can't act on an empty stomach, because you're breathing's all wrong.
ABOUT LAURENCE OLIVIER
I saw him fifteen times in Hamlet and I thought, "That's the greatest actor in the world." And I think acting is an important profession, because acting can give pleasure and can teach you at the same time, and that is a good thing. And he taught me more about how actors should be, about how an actor should live, than anybody I can imagine.
ABOUT SCARLETT O'HARA
I shall play Scarlett O'Hara.
I know I am right for Scarlett. I can convince Mr. Selznick.
Larry won't play Rhett Butler, but I shell play Scarlett O'Hara. Wait and see.
While Scarlett wasn't the most easy-going type, neither am I (Motion Picture, in February 1940)
You know the passage where Scarlett voices her happiness that her mother is dead, so that she can't see what a bad girl Scarlett has become? Well, that's me.
When Scarlett wanted something from life, she schemed about how to get it.
That was her trouble. Every so often I bump into stone walls and have to pick
myself up and clime over them.
Scarlett had a strong sense of property. I have a little...
She could take care of herself when she had to. I think I could, too...
I went to school for a time in Germany. That meant that being a girl I had to learn what every Hausfrau should know, and hated it. That was one of the things that helped me make up my mind to become an actress... I hope I've one thing that Scarlett never had. A sense of humor. I want some joy out of life... And she had one thing I hope I never had. Selfish egotism... Scarlett was a fascinating person whatever she did, but she was never a good person. She was too petty, too self-centered... But one thing about her was admirable. Her courage. She had more than I'll ever have.
ABOUT OTHER ACTRESSES
I'd rather be a Marie Tempest than a Greta Garbo.
I think Edith Evans is the most marvelous actress in the world and she can look beautiful. People who aren't beautiful can look beautiful. She can look as beautiful as Diana Cooper, who was the most beautiful woman in the world.
VIVIEN ABOUT HERSELF
I'm a Scorpio, and Scorpios eat themselves out and burn themselves up like me.
I cannot let well enough alone. I get restless. I have to be doing different things. I am very impatient person and headstrong. If I've made up my mind to do something, I can't be persuaded out of it.
I adore dancing.
I loved fencing and dancing and elocution.
I'm never tired.
I always know my lines.
I like dressing up, I think.
I do not worry about my looks because beauty is not a thing of age but of spirit.
Dear Lord, I'm so grateful I'm still loved.
I will have everything that I want at Notley – as well as my husband.
I have just made out my will and given all the things I have and many that I haven't.
I need something truly beautiful to look at in hotel rooms.
In the English language are two words I most detest - "pretty" and "beautiful". I think I'd hit anyone who called me that now.
I'm not a film star, I am an actress. Being a film star is such a false life, lived for fake values and for publicity.
I'm not afraid to die.
I'm not young. What's wrong with that?
Life is too short to work so hard.
I've always been mad about cats (1961).
My first husband and I are still good friends and there is no earthly reason why I should not see him. Larry and I are very much in love.
I've been a godmother loads of times, but being a grandmother is better than anything.
A lucky thing Eva Peron was. She died at thirty-three. I'm already forty-five. [accordingto Ann Edwards, Vivien said "at thirty-two", according to A. Walker, she said "at thirty-three" - Eva Peron died at at thirty-three.]