May 22, 2007

"If you don't like your life, change it."

Just an intriguingly simple bit of advice from Laurence Olivier, who, had he lived, would turn 100 years old today.


Unknown said...

That's an interesting take away from the article - although utterly true, of course.

He could have been an American.

As for the larger question raised by the article, isn't that really a matter of taste?

Revenant said...

We just passed Jimmy Stewart's 99th birthday, too. Now there was a class act.

Ann Althouse said...

John Wayne's 100th is this weekend, and we just passed Katharine Hepburn's 100th.

Tim, you're right that most of the article was about what a ham he was.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Of course, now he's a smoked ham.

Unknown said...

Well, we all know one man's ham is another's prosciutto.

Or, as Dalton Trumbo wrote for Olivier:

Marcus Licinius Crassus: Do you consider the eating of oysters to be moral and the eating of snails to be immoral?
Antoninus: No, master.
Marcus Licinius Crassus: Of course not. It is all a matter of taste, isn't it?
Antoninus: Yes, master.
Marcus Licinius Crassus: And taste is not the same as appetite, and therefore not a question of morals.
Antoninus: It could be argued so, master.
Marcus Licinius Crassus: My robe, Antoninus. My taste includes both snails and oysters.

Although, he wasn't exactly referencing the eating of snails or oysters, or acting, was he?

Unknown said...


Unknown said...

Matt Brown said...

Ruth Anne, are you sure he's not char-broiled?

George M. Spencer said...


An even jucier line from Spartacus...

Marcus Licinius Crassus: The enemies of the state are known, arrests are being made, the prisons begin to fill.

Bissage said...

Funny. Many years ago when I was involved (half-assedly) in the theater, someone told me this story:

A drunk Laurence Olivier was wrapping up an acting class with one of those lounge-about-the-stage chat sessions. A young man asked the master how he, too, could become a great actor.

Olivier paused for a moment and his face became vacant as he stared off into the distance. He took a deep drink from his bottle.

"Do something," he said.

That's the story I was told. It turns out I was right to be suspicious. (What does the booze add, anyway?) That story was a bastardized version of the advice Olivier gave to Joan Plowright: "If you don't like your life, change it."

That's one of the many things I disliked about the theater. I wanted it to be about truth. Most people I met were self-obsessed showoffs absolutely brimming with bullsh*t.

Ann Althouse said...

Bissage: "'Do something.'"

You can imagine Olivier phrasing that in a lot of different ways and a lot of different attitudes.

DTL: We all know he was gay.

KCFleming said...

What if we don't like someone else's life?

For example, how to minimize DTL viewing life through gay-colored lenses?

Unknown said...

"What if we don't like someone else's life?

Ignore it.

Attention is its oxygen.

Zeb Quinn said...

If you don't like your life, change it.

Kinda like Abraham Lincoln's, "Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."