Ruth Gordon: Prove Yourself Right

Ruth Gordon, on board the Queen Mary, in 1936.

Interview with Author
By Telephone

You've got to be intelligently angry. Does this make any sense? Everybody seems to be angry all the time now, and I can't locate the source or the goal or the plan to reduce the anger or properly place it. Everybody is just plain mad, and that gets no one anywhere.

Look, no one was told more often than I was to forget about acting; forget about happiness; forget about success. Screw them! I always thought that, and I always said this to myself, but I was never angry--just indiscriminately angry--at the people who said these things. I pitied them! I thought they were so limited and so wrong. And I kept working. I put all my anger into energy and study and work. I'd show them through the work, not through spite or rage or anger. Now everyone is pissed off, and all you know of some people is how angry or vengeful they are. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Only you can really know what you can do; what you should do. Don't expect favors, but work yourself to death; extend yourself. The favors will come from people who are amazed that you're still in the game. I don't know that people thought I was getting better when they gave me jobs or loans or food: I think they did think I was sticking it out; giving it a go; shaping my destiny.

People are more often stupid than they are evil. Remember that. And anger is pointless. Get moving. Prove them wrong; prove yourself right.

© 2013 James Grissom
From Artistic Suicide


  1. I just said good lesson to learn, mostly for french people!


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