Smart ass, depressing, talented, hypochondriac; that's Oscar Levant, the "enfant terrible" of America in the 40's and 50's. It's hard not to like a guy who "made insanity America's favorite hobby." And just at the point he starts to get good at something he quits. Pianist, Movie Star, Talk Show Host, you name it, he quit it! Christ, this is a man who is clearly 50 years ahead of his time! Really, he's effectively a bhodisatva for half the people I've ever met! A defining archetype of The House of Fun.
Quips and Quotes:
- Upon meeting Greta Garbo: "Sorry, I didn't get the name."
- To George Gershwin: "Tell me, George, if you had to do it all over would you fall in love with yourself again?"
- Of Leonard Bernstein: "I admire Leonard Bernstein, but not as much as he does."
- Of Elizabeth Taylor: "Always a bride, never a bridesmaid."
- Of Perry Como: "Perry Como's voice actually comes out of his eyelids."
- Of Debbie Reynolds: "She's as wistful as an iron foundry."
- Of Minnie Guggenheimer: "She's a good friend. As long as you're on top she'll stick by you."
- Of Grace Kelly: "She just married the first prince who asked her."
- Of Doris Day: "I knew Doris Day before she became a virgin."
- Of Richard Nixon: "He swings a big mouth and carries a little stick."
- Of Zsa Zsa Gabor: "Zsa Zsa Gabor has learned the secret of perpetual middle age."
- "Someone once asked me where I lived and I said, 'On the periphery . . . '."
- "I paid thousands of dollars to psychiatrists to forget my childhood."
- "My psychiatrist once said to me, 'Maybe life isn't for everyone'."
- "I was thrown out of one mental hospital because I depressed the patients."
- "There is a fine line between genius and insanity, and I have erased that line."
- "Happiness isn't something you experience, it's something you remember."
- "A pun is the lowest form of humor – when you don't think of it first."
- "It's not what you are, it's what you don't become that hurts."
- "I've given up reading books. I find it takes my mind off myself."
Here's the cool Wikipedia link on him. Read and be edified!