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Dustin Hoffman Quotes

Dustin Lee Hoffman

Dustin Hoffman quotes: all-time acting great on all things.

“Life is an occasion.  Rise to it.”

“If you have this enormous talent, it’s got you by the balls, it’s a demon.  You can’t be a family man and a husband and a caring person and be that animal.  Dickens wasn’t that nice a guy.”

“It’s true what they say about failure.  You don’t learn from success.”

“If you can get out there and say, ‘I’m going to… I’m willing to fail at what I feel is right,’ that’s it.  I’ve never been afraid of that.”

Blame is for God and small children.”

“Thirty-seven seconds, well used, is a lifetime.”

“If you’re waiting for the job, you’re dead.”

“What is your least favorite word?  It’s three words that we usually use as one: woulda, shoulda, coulda.”

“You spend so much of your life basing yourself on what you think other people think of you.  Then you realize that maybe one of the purposes of life is not to care.”

“Well the thing about life is, it gets weird.  People are always talking to ya about truth.  Everybody always knows what the truth is, like it was toilet paper or somethin’, and they got a supply in the closet.  But what you learn, as you get older, is there ain’t no truth.  All there is is bullsh*t.  Layers of it.  One layer of bullsh*t on top of another.  And what you do in life like when you get older is, you pick the layer of bullsh*t that you prefer and that’s your bullsh*t, so to speak.”

“Life stinks, but that doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy it.”

“Someone once said to me, ‘Some of us choose to live with a lifeboat just a little bit out of our reach.’  I’d like to reach a point where I no longer bullsh*t myself.  I think that’s the natural human condition – to lie to yourself.  Because the truth is painful.”

“It’s very painful for us to feel we deserve a life.  That’s the toughest thing.  That we deserve to have a life.  That can take a lifetime.”

“There is a large percentage of youth that jump on the gravy train.  People, as always, identify romantically with change in a superficial and almost a movie-like way.  At the same time, there’s a whole swim of things that have a different tide which is exciting.  The fact that the youth, that a whole aspect of America now questions America in a kind of open and somewhat intelligent way is exciting.”

“There is something unnatural about marriage.  These two people are not going to be the same people in a few years.  The trick is to live your own life while sharing the same space.”

“The better you are as a parent, the richer the nest you’ve built, the more difficult it is for your kids to leave.  So they have to invent things to dislike about you.  And they’re brilliant at it.”

“Youth itself is today more famous than anybody, than any single person.  There is a sense of self.  They’re their own movie stars.”

“Money is another pressure.  I’m not complaining, I’m just saying that there’s a certain luxury in having no money.  I spent 10 years in New York not having it, not worrying about it.  Suddenly you have it, then you worry, where is it going?  Am I doing the right thing with it?”

“I decided to become an actor because I was failing in school and I needed the credits.”

“I wanted to be a jazz pianist, but I wasn’t good enough.  I got into city college because I didn’t have the grades to get into university.  I took acting because it was a way to get three credits.  I just needed three credits and my friend told me to take acting because it was like gym – nobody fails you.  I took it and that’s literally how I got involved in acting.”

“I just wanted to be a really good working character actor.  That’s all I ever wanted.  I convinced myself that that’s all I ever wanted, because that’s all that I hoped to achieve.  I realized that I’d always wanted to be a star, that you don’t become a star if you don’t want to be a star.  You work very hard at it.”

“I love acting, and I’m not going to determine what I do based on what I fear other people might think.  I do what I want to do.”

“One of the things you can do as an actor, is compensate for the things you can’t do in life.”

“I stopped working a few years ago because I just lost a spark that I’d had before.  I thought I’d just try writing, and maybe start directing, but I did it very quietly.”

“If you’re a writer, you get up in the morning and you write what’s coming out of you.”

“Stories?  We all spend our lives telling them, about this, about that, about people… but some?  Some stories are so good we wish they’d never end.  They’re so gripping.  Some stories bring us laughter and sometimes they bring us tears… but isn’t that what a great story does?  Makes you feel?  Stories that are so powerful.  They really are with us forever.”

“I lived below the official American poverty line until I was 31.”

“I think I became a success in spite of myself.  I tried hard not to be so I could fulfill the promise of what my parents thought of me.”

“Depressed, anxious, sad, frightened?  Yes.  But I’ve never been bored.”

“There’s a rebirth that goes on with us continuously as human beings.  I don’t understand, personally, how you can be bored.  I can understand how you can be depressed, but I just don’t understand boredom.”

“One thing about being successful is that I stopped being afraid of dying.  Once you’re a star you’re dead already.  You’re embalmed.”

“I think retirement goes hand-in-hand with people who make a living by having a job.  I don’t think we – the .00001% of the population who are so fortunate to love passionately what we do – consider it a ‘job.'”

“What you feel about yourself for the first few years of your life never disappears, particularly in the formative years.  You come to terms with it in a certain way, but it’s painful.  And you can work through that pain.  But I think you keep vestiges of all your pain.”

“There are traits in my own personal character which I don’t feel are admirable, which I feel are unattractive.  I’ve tried to bring out unattractive aspects of me in roles that I’ve played, and sometimes achieve that.  I can’t apologize for anything I’ve done.  I did as much as I could do at that time in my life with the part, as much as I knew about acting, or about myself, I did.  I tried as hard as I could, and I couldn’t do better.”

“There’s an ambivalence about being a star.  Well, I’m a star, so I lead a double life being a star.  In those kinds of times, where you come out to support someone, or you want to pay tribute, I’m aware that I’m a public display.”

“A man’s thoughts, a man’s feelings are kind of what seem to be the attractive thing – not somebody’s face, or somebody’s famosity.  Just the fact that someone is famous isn’t something to be adored.”

“There’s nothing more important to a human being than their parents’ love.  And many times, you wind up giving them love in order to receive their love, a version of yourself that isn’t you because you think that’s what they want.  And I think that’s what I would have tried to resolve much earlier.  Truthfully, I’m at a better point now than I have ever been.”

“I think of my life as being Swiss cheese.  And it’s filled with holes.  And I have fewer holes now than I’ve ever had.”

“This is your life.  Now go make it the one you’ve always wanted.”

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