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Tootsie is a 1982 film about an unemployed actor with a reputation for being difficult who disguises himself as a woman to get a role in a soap opera.

Directed by Sydney Pollack. Written by Larry Gelbart, Murray Schisgal, Barry Levinson (uncredited), and Elaine May (uncredited), based on a story by Don McGuire and Larry Gelbart.
This Is a Hell of a Way To Make a Living. taglines

Michael Dorsey[edit]

  • You know, I could lay a big line on you and we could do a lot of role playing, but the simple truth is that I find you very interesting and I'd really like to make love to you.

Dorothy Michaels[edit]

  • [in her audition] Oh I know what y'all really want is some gross caricature of a woman to prove some idiotic point that power makes a woman masculine, or masculine women are ugly. Well shame on you for letting a man do that, or any man that does that. That means you, dear. Miss Marshall. Shame on you, you macho shit head.
  • [to April, dressed only in bra and panties] What kind of mother would I be if I didn't give my girls tits... tips?

Jeff Slater[edit]

  • Mike, I really appreciate you're doing this, but... it is just for the money, isn't it? It's not just so you can wear these little outfits?

Sandy Lester[edit]

  • There is nothing you can do for me. I just have to feel like this until I don't feel like this anymore and you're gonna have to know that you're the one that made me feel this way.
  • Well, good night, Michael. It was a wonderful party. My date left with someone else. I had a lot of fun. Do you have any Seconol?


  • George Fields: [to Dorothy/Michael] I begged you to get therapy.
  • John Van Horne: [after Dorothy reveals she is a man] Does Jeff know?
  • Ron Carlisle: [after Dorothy reveals she is a man] I knew there was a reason she didn't like me!


George: Where do you come off sending me your roommate's play for you to star in? I'm your agent, not your mother! I'm not supposed to find plays for you to star in - I'm supposed to field offers! And that's what I do!
Michael: 'Field offers?' Who told you that, the Agent Fairy? That was a significant piece of work - I could've been terrific in that part.
George: Michael, nobody's gonna do that play.
Michael: Why?
George: Because it's a downer, that's why. Because nobody wants to produce a play about a couple that moved back to Love Canal.
Michael: But that actually happened!
George: Who gives a shit? Nobody wants to pay twenty dollars to watch people living next to chemical waste! They can see that in New Jersey!

Michael: Are you saying that nobody in New York will work with me?
George: No, no, that's too limited... nobody in Hollywood wants to work with you either. I can't even send you up for a commercial. You played a tomato for 30 seconds - they went a half a day over schedule because you wouldn't sit down.
Michael: Yes - it wasn't logical.
George: You were a tomato! A tomato doesn't have logic. A tomato can't move.
Michael: That's what I said. So if he can't move, how's he gonna sit down, George? [George sinks into his chair, holding his head in his hands.] I was a stand-up tomato: a juicy, sexy, beefsteak tomato. Nobody does vegetables like me. I did an evening of vegetables off-Broadway. I did the best tomato, the best cucumber... I did an endive salad that knocked the critics on their ass.

Sandy: Wish me luck.
Michael: [trying to help her keep her anger for an audition] Fuck you.
Sandy: Thanks.
Michael: Fuck you.

[Dorothy Michaels' screen test]
Rita: I'd like to make her look a little more attractive, how far can you pull back?
Cameraman: How do you feel about Cleveland?
Rita: Knock it off.

Ron: I'm afraid you're not right for this role. Thanks for coming by.
Dorothy: Why am I not right, Mister Carlisle?
Ron: I'm trying to make a certain statement and I'm looking for a specific physical type.
Dorothy: Mr. Carlisle, I'm an actress. I'm a character actress. I can play it any way you want.
Ron: I'm sure you're a very good actress. It's just that you're not threatening enough.
Dorothy: Not threatening enough? Listen, you take your hands off me or I'll knee your balls right through the roof of your mouth! Is that enough of a threat?
Ron: [shaken] It's a start.
Dorothy: Oh I know what y'all really want is some gross caricature of a woman to prove some idiotic point that power makes a woman masculine, or masculine women are ugly. Well shame on you for letting a man do that, or any man that does that. That means you, dear. Miss Marshall. Shame on you, you macho shit head.

John: I'm just an untalented old has-been.
Dorothy: Were you ever famous?
John Van Horne: No.
Dorothy: Then how can you be a has-been?

George: You are psychotic!
Michael: No, I'm not, I'm employed.

Jeff: I'm just afraid that you're going to burn in Hell for all this.
Michael: I don't believe in hell. I believe in unemployment, but not hell.

Michael: Wait, I'll call you a cab.
Sandy: Don't bother. It's cheaper to get mugged.

Julie: I know I'm pretty and I use it. I just guess I shouldn't have gone to Dr. Brewster's office so late.
Dorothy: Well, no, that's not true. You know, Dr. Brewster has tried to seduce several nurses on this ward. Always claiming to be in the throes of an uncontrollable impulse. Do you know what?
Ron: [in the control room] Uh-oh.
Dorothy: I think I'm gonna give every nurse on this floor an electric cattle prod, and just instruct them to just zap him in his badoobies.
[Julie tries, unsuccessfully, to hold back a giggle.]
Ron: [standing up, outraged] Cattle prod?
Dorothy: Ruby? Hi, you wanna open the yellow pages under the section, Farm Equipment retail...

Jeff: [Michael's half dressed as Dorothy, getting ready for a dinner with Julie] What do you mean you don't have anything to wear?
Michael: She's seen me in all of these!
Jeff: She hasn't seen you in that white dress.
Michael: What, this?
[holds up a formal white dress]
Jeff: Yeah.
Michael: You cannot wear white to a casual dinner. It's too dressy.
Jeff: Can't you wear pants?
Michael: Pants?
[pats the fake butt he's wearing then wags his finger No]
Jeff: What about this thing? [holds up a striped dress]
Michael: No. I don't have the right shoes for it, I don't like the way the horizontal lines make me look too hippy, and it cuts me across the bust.
Jeff: [slight pause] I think we're getting into a weird area here.

Sandy: A guy named Les is sending you flowers?
Michael: Yes. He's a friend of mine. He can't eat candy. He's diabetic.
Sandy: Why is he thanking you for a lovely night in front of the fire.
Michael: [long pause] My mind's a blank.
Sandy: Michael, are you gay?
Michael: In what sense?

Michael: Friends?
Sandy: No, we are not friends. I don't take this shit from friends. Only lovers.

Ron: You don't like me, do you? Now, I can respect that. There's not many women that I can't make like me. Why don't you like me?
Dorothy: I don't like the way you treat Julie. I don't like the way you patronize her. I don't like the way you deceive her. I don't like the way you lie to her.
Ron: What do you mean?
Dorothy: You want me to go on?
Ron: No, no. I know what you mean.

Michael: You should have seen the look on her face when she thought I was a lesbian.
George: "Lesbian"? You just said gay.
Michael: No, no, no - Sandy thinks I'm gay, Julie thinks I'm a lesbian.
George: I thought Dorothy was supposed to be straight?
Michael: Dorothy IS straight. Tonight Les, the sweetest, nicest man in the world asked me to marry him.
George: A guy named Les wants YOU to marry him?
Michael: No, no, no - he wants to marry Dorothy.
George: Does he know she's a lesbian?
Michael: Dorothy's not a lesbian!
George: I know that, does he know that?
Michael: Know what?
George: That, er, I... I don't know.

John: [finishing his drink] Dorothy, I want you.
Dorothy: I beg your pardon?

Dorothy/Michael: Thank you, Gordon. Well, I cannot tell you all how deeply moved I am. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would be the object of so much genuine affection. It makes it all the more difficult for me to say what I'm now going to say. Yes. I do feel it's time to set the record straight. You see, I didn't come here just as an administrator, Dr. Brewster; I came to this hospital to settle an old score. Now you all know that my father was a brilliant man; he built this hospital. What you don't know is that to his family, he was an unmerciful tyrant - a absolute dodo bird. He drove my mother, his wife, to - to drink; in fact, she - uh, she she she went riding one time and lost all her teeth. The son Edward became a recluse, and the oldest daughter - the pretty one, the charming one - became pregnant when she was fifteen years old and was driven out of the house. In fact, she was so terrified that she would, uh, that, uh, that, that, that the baby daughter would bear the stigma of illegitimacy that she, she - she decided to change her name and she contracted a disfiguring disease... after moving to Tangiers, which is where she raised the, the, the little girl as her sister. But her one ambition in life - besides the child's happiness - was to become a nurse, so she returned to the States and joined the staff right here at Southwest General. Well, she worked here, she knew she had to speak out wherever she saw injustice and inhumanity. God save us, you do understand that, don't you, Dr. Brewster?
John: I never laid a hand on her.
Dorothy/Michael: Yes, you did. And she was shunned by all you nurses, too... and by a, what do you call it, what do you call it, a - something like a pariah, to you doctors who found her idealistic and reckless. But she was deeply, deeply, deeply, deeply, deeply, deeply loved by her brother. It was this brother who, on the day of her death, swore to the good Lord above that he would follow in her footsteps, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, just, just, just, just, just, just, just, just, just, just owe it all up to her. But on her terms. As a woman. And just as proud to be a woman as she ever was. For I am not Emily Kimberly, the daughter of Dwayne and Alma Kimberly. No, I'm not. [in a deep voice, pulling off the wig] I'm Edward Kimberly, the reckless brother of my sister Anthea. Edward Kimberly, who has finally vindicated his sister's good name. I am Edward Kimberly. Edward Kimberly. And I'm not mentally ill, but proud, and lucky, and strong enough to be the woman that was the best part of my manhood. The best part of myself.
Jeff: [watching on TV] That is one nutty hospital!

Julie: I miss Dorothy.
Michael: You don't have to. She's right here. And she misses you. Look, you don't know me from Adam. But I was a better man with you, as a woman... than I ever was with a woman, as a man. You know what I mean? I just gotta learn to do it without the dress. At this point, there might be an advantage to my wearing pants. The hard part's over, you know? We were already... good friends.


  • This Is a Hell of a Way To Make a Living.
  • Desperate, he took a female role and became a star. If only he could tell the woman he loves.
  • He's Tootsie... She's Dustin Hoffman
  • What do you get when you cross a hopelessly straight starving actor with a dynamite red sequined dress? You get America's hottest new actress.
  • Can you keep a secret? In the next 72 hours, this desperate, unemployed actor will secretly audition for the lead of a soap opera. And become America's hottest new actress.


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