Richard Harris quotes

Richard Harris Actors take themselves so seriously. Ireland calling

Richard Harris was born in Limerick with seven brothers and sisters. He learnt from an early age that he had to shout and ‘create’ to get attention.

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Richard Harris quote. Actors take themselves so seriously. Image copyright Ireland calling

He was well known as a fast-living, fun-loving man who loved his drink. This started in his teenage years. These are some of his best and most controversial quotes.

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I came to England first in 1954 looking for a bedsit, a room to sleep in while going to my academy. And outside the Earl’s Court tube station there was a little tobacco-list and paper shop and they had a board. A glass-filled in board with rooms for rent.

And I saw one for thirteen shillings a week and it said, “No Irishmen or black need apply” and I took my jersey and I put it down over my hand and I put my hand right through the glass and I took it out and I kept it for the rest of my life. That’s how we were treated here in 1954. That would cause me grievance. That would cause me anger.

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Richard Harris quote. There are too many prima donnas in the business and not enough action. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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What I hate about our business today is the elitism. So-called stars ride in private jets and have bodyguards and dietitians and beauticians. Tom Cruise is a midget and he has eight bodyguards all 6 feet 10, which makes him even more diminutive. It’s an absolute joke.

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Someone asked me once: “What is the difference between Tom Cruise now and you when you were a major star?” I said there is a great difference. Look at a photograph of me from the old days and I’m going to one of my film premieres with a bottle of vodka in my hand. Tom Cruise has a bottle of Evian water. That’s the difference – a bottle of Evian water.

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Richard Harris quote. I've struck a blow for the Irish rebellion! Image copyright Ireland Calling

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I have no friends in this business. I don’t go to their clubs, don’t go to their hangouts and don’t mix at all. I am part of the business but I am apart from it. If anyone ever asks my advice, I tell them, ‘Don’t take yourself too seriously.

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I can see the difficulties of making a movie. Directors and producers have to put up with a lot of rubbish from temperamental actors.

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Richard Harris quote. I feel most alive when I'm working on a film. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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No one trusts me any more. I spent half the movie of Maigret arguing with people and I was accused of causing big on-set rows. But what they won’t tell you is I fought for the author, Georges Simenon. I fought for the maintenance of quality.

I don’t believe in lying down on the job. I’ve seen these so-called “nice” actors. Very able fellows like Ian McKellen and Kenneth Branagh. But they’re like bank managers. So sweet and careful. Who needs them?

We are suffering a plague of good taste. Give me Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke any day. They project danger. That’s what makes acting – and life – interesting.

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I’m not interested in reputation or immortality or things like that…I don’t care what I’m remembered for. I don’t care if I’m remembered. I don’t care if I’m not remembered. I don’t care why I’m remembered. I genuinely don’t care.

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No one gave me anything. I fought TB, I fought the devil. But I made people laugh. I don’t want immortality. I’ve lived it all. I’ve done it all.

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Richard Harris quote. I can be eccentric now and get away with it. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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I would give up all the accolades – people have occasionally written and said nice things – of my showbiz career to play just once for the senior Munster team. I will never win an Oscar now, but even if I did I would swap it instantly for one sip of champagne from the Heineken Cup.

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Read more on Richard Harris’ life and watch full film of This Sporting Life

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