Edward G. Robinson

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You know, I've always figured the waiting is what I get paid for. The acting I do free.

Edward G. Robinson (born Emanuel Goldenberg; December 12, 1893 — January 26, 1973) was a Romanian-born American actor. A popular star on stage and screen during "Hollywood's Golden Age", he appeared in 40 Broadway plays and more than 100 films during a 50-year career. He is best remembered for his tough-guy roles as a gangster, such as his star-making film Little Caesar and Key Largo.


  • You know, I've always figured the waiting is what I get paid for. The acting I do free.
  • He's the greatest bull artist in the world—and only occasionally the greatest artist in the world.
    • On Picasso; as quoted in Leonard Spigelgass's epilogue to All My Yesterdays: An Autobiography (1973), by Edward G. Robinson, p. 276
  • Did it ever occur to anyone how boring his pictures are?
  • I'm told he's no longer a hero and he could have done more for the Jews, that he had a mistress. Well, count up the score. He turned the twentieth century around; without him, I think we'd all be ruled by a commissariat.
    • On FDR; op. cit.
  • He may yet turn out to have greatness in him despite himself. I think his kind of ambition is indeed a grievous thing.; now that he cannot be reelected, maybe he'll let his humanity emerge. There simply has to be more to the man than he lets us see.
  • I love everything he stands for; I just he didn't love it so much. He needs a director to tell him when he's made his point. I think he'd have been a good President.
  • I always keep four or five books on my bed table, and each night I read a little of each; I guess I can't concentrate on any one at a time. But I always finish them.
    • Op. cit., p. 278
  • I hated every minute of it and couldn't stop crying.
  • I think it should be declared illegal. I don't think we should gamble on wheat futures.
  • I went to see one. It did nothing for me. But I think that has to do with my age, not my morals.
  • I think he means everything he says, but he says it so badly that he sounds like a ventriloquist's dummy. His ambition was also grievous.
  • He belonged to more causes than I did. I think I had a letter from him every other day asking for money. I always responded.
  • It's the word I dislike, not the food. Give me a piece of bread and butter and I'll enjoy it. Now tell me it's margarine and I'll throw up.
    • Op. cit., p. 280
  • I think he, Christ and Marx are responsible for the world being the way it is—and I confer my thanks upon all of them, as I withhold it.
  • The first symptom is that hair grows on your ears. It's very disconcerting.
  • No matter how big you get, check out all the props. Make certain they're where they're supposed to be. In The Racket, I was supposed to be gunned down. One night the poor actor shooting me had no blanks in his pistol, so I had no cue. Improvising out of pure desperation, I changed Bart Cormack's play and died of a heart attack. It was simulated, but it was almost real.
    • Op. cit., p. 282
  • I'm breaking all the rules, but I have to say you have been my idol. I admit being jealous of an actor. How I would like to have been what you are. How I wish my career had approximated yours. You have never deserted or failed to serve our profession. Sir, to be presented an award by you gives me infinite pride. You, being a Lord, have raised me to a slightly higher position. I don't feel that I'm quite such a commoner. But, more important, I'm Eddie and you're Larry. And how much easier that is.
    • Portion of never-delivered acceptance speech—addressed to prospective presenter Laurence Olivier—for what eventually proved to be Robinson's posthumously awarded Honorary Oscar; op. cit.

Quotes about[edit]

  • In one scene where I'm driving in a convertible with Eddie Robinson and Ann Sothern in the back, I'm supposed to imitate all these bird tweets. We did the scene against a transparency, then Eddie rushes to the director, Lloyd Bacon, and barks, "Ralph is interpolating bird whistles not in the script. He's trying to steal the scene with those tweets." We all dissolved in laughter but Eddie was dead serious.
    • Ralph Bellamy, speaking with James Bawden in either 1978, 1983 or 1988, recalling an incident on the set of Brother Orchid (1940); as quoted in Classic Film Actors: Interviews from Hollywood's Golden Era (2016) by Bawden and Ron Miller, p. 35

External links[edit]

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