Richard (about Liz): If anything happened to her, I'd die.
Joan Collins (about Richard's womanizing): Richard, I do believe you would screw a snake.
Richard (in response to Joan): It would have to be wearing a skirt, darling, and it would have to be a female snake.
Richard (about his profession): I'm strictly in Hollywood for the fame and money.
Richard (about being an actor): Actors are poor, abject, disagreeable, preverse, ill-minded, slightly malicious creatures. And of that august company of idiots, I'm afraid I'm a member.
Alec Guinnes (about Richard): He gave of himself and his talent in the most unselfish way I have ever encountered of a great star.
Laurence Olivier (to Richard): You have to decide. Do you want to
be a great actor or a household name!
Richard (in response to Olivier): Both!
Edward Dmytryk (about Richard): Whether it was good or bad, he always worked in the same professional way. If he sold himself, he gave full money's worth.
Liz (about her relationship with Richard): It was probably the most chaotic time of my life. It was fun, and it was dark--oceans of tears, but there were some good times, too.
Richard (about why he makes so many movies): I'm one of those weak fellows. I need to keep busy. I go out of my skull if I lie about too long. Besides, I have a lot more respect for making movies than I used to. Working with Elizabeth has helped me there. And when you produce movies, as I have been lately, you have to take the damned things seriously.
Richard (about keeping in shape): Do my exercises every day, I do. Push-ups and bends, all that sort of thing. And when I'm in the shower, I do a good bit of shouting, singing and poetry reciting. Convoluted sort of poetry, keeping the power low, but strong. A trick that me old Dad once taught me. Excellent for the voice.
Richard (about love): Unless you love someone, nothing makes any sense.
Richard (about the attention from marrying Liz): Well, I must say that it seems everyone has quieted down. Good Lord, the reputations we had! I mean, I was a bestial wife stealer, and Elizabeth was a scheming home breaker or something. We've been through a lot of fire together, Elizabeth and I. You'd think we were out to destroy Western civilization or something.
Richard (about popularity changing him): I feel the same. I mean as I've always felt. That is, like me. I look the same. Except I've put on a bit of weight. That's French cooking for you.
Richard (about what he'd like to do besides act): There's a touch of the farmer in all of us, I think, and I'm no exception. I'd love to get half an acre one of these days and do some digging. You know, plants and flowers, things like that. A couple of animals, perhaps. Very good for a tranquil mind. I'd like to give up all this publicity and hectic hopping about and devote myself to belles lettres. I've always wanted to be a writer. Done a bit already, you know. Loved it. But Elizabeth wonders if I could get along without being famous, I mean living that sort of life. Don't you know, really, I think I would be bloody angry if I were not treated absolutely first class. The best table and all that. It would take a little reorganizing of the mind, I suppose. Yes, a nice half acre somewhere....
Liz: Make it ten acres.
McPhisto (from Candy): Go away! How dare you?! Are you suggesting, that a potential candidate for the Nobel Prize in literature, is not capable of taking off his own trousers?
Richard (about vacations): How lovely it must be to take just the one passport, one bag, a briefcase and a typewriter. And ride in a slow train at night and wake up to cowbells and Swiss chalets. Instead of "Liza, get a move on for Christ's sake and stop patting that stray dog. Maria, sit down, SIT DOWN. Chris, will you for God's sake stop lighting matches all over the bloody airport. Mike, get your feet off the pilot's back. He's trying to drive the plane. Watch out for Fatso. Catch the cat. Clean u Jacob's shit, somebody. get that bloody cat's claws out of the canary's cage. Will somebody for the sake of sanity stop Oh Fie from cocking his leg against the navigator's ditto. Oh, bugger it, where's the parachute? I'm getting out of here."
Richard (about his reading): Home is where the books are.
Richard (about his eye injury): I must have read without interruption including mealtimes & visits to the lavatory for about 16 hours. The result being that this morning my right eye was bright red. It's the legacy of the fight outside Paddington Station some seven years ago when my eye was so badly kicked by a winkle-pickered boot that I lost the conjunctiva and nearly lost the eye. In the middle age those things begin to tell.
Richard (about being depressed): Don't be depressed, Rich, the world will be new tomorrow.
Richard (about his daughter Jessica): All you can do is make her rich, Rich. And she is rich, Rich.
Richard (about his love for Liz): Elizabeth has great worries about becoming a cripple because her feet sometimes have no feeling in them. She asked if I would stop loving her if she had to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair. I told her that I didn't care if her legs, bum and bosoms fell off and her teeth turned yellow. And she went bald. I love that woman so much sometimes that I cannot believe my luck. She has given me so much.
Richard (about a day with Liz): Yesterday was a funny day. It went splendidly for the first half and degenerated into bickering around 3.30 in the p.m. It was largely my fault. I suddenly became testy for no very good reason and remained so for the rest of the day though I tried to get myself better around five but to no avail. E. of course was no help at all and bickered back with almost masculine pride. This was some of the dialogue, roughly speaking:
Me: (Having gone to read upstairs in the bedroom about 8 p.m.) "Is the bathroom still smelling?"
Me: I can't smell anything in there. Perhaps it's you."
She: "F^ck off." (She leaves the bedroom and goes downstairs, while me remains reading in bed.)
She: (Having come back upstairs twenty mins or so later standing at the door with a look of real loathing on her face) "I dislike you and hate you." (Maybe it was "loathe.")
Me: (Getting into dressing gown) "Goodnight, have a good sleep."
She: "You too."
Me exits and goes to Chris's room where Me lies on bed and reads.
N.B. For the benefit of the actors in this little study of home life among the Birtons, it must be emphasised that though the words used are relatively innocuous, the speaking of them is instinct with venomous malice.