Happy Birthday to William Powell (July 29, 1892-March 5, 1984).
[when asked how he kept so slim] “I highly recommend worrying. It’s much more effective than dieting.”
[speaking in 1929] “Unfortunately, or perhaps it is fortunate that I have always been forced to stand on my acting ability. I haven’t a personality such as Jack Gilbert’s, for instance, that attracts women and makes them like me for myself. When I am on the screen I must make them forget me entirely and think only of my acting.”
My friends have stood by me marvelously in the ups and downs of my career. I don’t believe there is anything more worthwhile in life than friendship. Friendship is a far better thing than love, as it is commonly accepted.
I do not hold that because the author did a bad job of writing the player need trump it with the same kind of acting. When I go into a picture I have only one character to look after. If the author didn’t do him justice, I try to add whatever the creator of the part overlooked.
I have never gone into a picture without first studying my characterization from all angles. I make a study of the fellow’s life and try to learn everything about him, including the conditions under which he came into this world, his parentage, his environment, his social status, and the things in which he is interested. Then I attempt to get his mental attitude as much as possible.
There is more money in being liked by an audience than in being disliked by it. The biggest thing about movie audiences is the sympathy they give characters on the screen. But the art of acting and the talent of selecting what one will act are divorced qualities.