Labor Day affords us the opportunity to reflect on work, our jobs, present and past. Good jobs, bad jobs, we’ve all had our share of both.
Work should set you free. Honest labor puts money in your pocket which allows you to spend that money as you see fit. Ideally, work infuses the individual with a sense of self-worth and dignity.
In Judaism, work is viewed as a vital adjunct to the observance and study of Torah:
Im ayn kemach, ayn Torah.
If there is no bread [work], there is no study of Torah.
—Ethics of the Fathers, (Avos 3:21)
Thus, the Torah invests labor with a deep spiritual value.
But let’s be honest, in any work environment there is gossip. And office gossip can be terribly destructive.
Hollywood has always been a hothouse for nasty personal attacks. But in the past, these vendettas were usually reserved for post-career memoirs and late night interviews—Johnny Carson, Dick Cavett, David Frost, etc—that today, appear sweetly disagreeable.
But in postmodern America, where traditional values of respect and restraint are not even a dim memory, Hollywood gossip has become an industry unto itself. Unsavory gossip is now mainstream, brought to you in the form of entertainment and reality shows—which are neither entertaining nor real.
America has even elected a president who regularly slings gossip disguised as social-political wisdom. Obama’s remarks about the “stupid” Boston police, about being Trayvon Martin’s father, even his off-the-cuff remark about a Syrian red line—these are instances of politics as gossip; an indication of the deep moral and intellectual corruption of Obama & Co., and of the liberal political class who are unmoored from the basics of a civil society.
Here are a few of Seraphic Secret’s favorite, and not-so-secret snipes—touchingly tame by today’s appalling standards—brought to you some of Hollywood’s best-loved stars about other best-loved stars.
Marilyn Monroe on Montgomery Clift
He’s the only person I know that is in worse shape than I am.
Fred Astaire on John Travolta in “Saturday Night Fever” (1977)
He’s not a dancer. What he did in those dance scenes was very attractive but he is basically not a dancer. I was dancing like that years ago, you know. Disco is just jitterbug.
Bing Crosby on Judy Garland
There wasn’t a thing that gal couldn’t do—except look after herself.
Joan Crawford on Greta Garbo
She’s let herself go all to hell. She walks along the sidewalk and runs across the street through the cars when somebody notices her, like an animal, a furtive rodent. It’s a wonder anybody notices her—she looks like a bag lady. I heard that she’s simply stopped bathing.
Robert Mitchum on working with Faye Dunaway
When I got here I walked in thinking I was a star and then I found I was supposed to do everything the way she says. Listen, I’m not going to take any temperamental whims from anyone, I just take a long walk and cool off. If I didn’t do that, I know I’d wind up dumping her on her derrière.
Marlene Dietrich on Gary Cooper
Gary Cooper was neither intelligent nor cultured. Just like the other actors, he was chosen for his physique, which, after all, was more important than an active brain.
Walter Matthau on Barbra Streisand
I had no disagreement with Barbra Streisand. I was merely exasperated at her tendency to be a complete megalomaniac.
Humphrey Bogart on working with Rod Steiger in “The Harder They Fall” (1956)
These Actors Studio types, they mumble their lines. I can’t hear their words. I miss the cues. This scratch-your-ass-and-mumble school of acting doesn’t please me.
Anthony Hopkins on Shirley MacLaine
The most obnoxious actress I’ve ever worked with.
W.C. Fields on Mae West
A plumber’s idea of Cleopatra.
Kirk Douglas on Doris Day
That face she shows the world—smiling, only talking good, happy, tuned into God—as far as I’m concerned, that’s just a mask. I haven’t a clue as to what’s underneath. Doris is just about the remotest person I know.
Frank Sinatra on Marlon Brando
He is the most overrated actor in the world.
Burt Lancaster on Kirk Douglas
Kirk would be the first to admit that he’s difficult to work with—and I would be the second.
Louise Brooks on Bette Davis and Joan Crawford
I like Bette Davis. I think she’s a real actor, don’t you? I never liked Joan Crawford at all. Never. I hate fakes. She was an awful fake. A washerwoman’s daughter. I’m a terrible snob, you know.
Lawrence Olivier on Marilyn Monroe
A professional amateur.
Robert Mitchum on Steve McQueen
He sure don’t bring much brains to the party, that kid.
Marlon Brando on Lee Strasberg
An ambitious, selfish man who exploited the people who attended the Actors Studio, and he tried to project himself as an acting oracle and guru. Some people worshiped him, but I never knew why.
Anthony Quinn on Marilyn Monroe
An empty-headed blonde with a fat rear. Oh, Monroe was pretty enough to look at, but there were hundreds of better-looking actresses poking around Hollywood. Even after she hit the big time, with Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), I never could see what all the fuss was about.
Cary Grant on Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift and James Dean
I have no rapport with the new idols of the screen, and that includes Marlon Brando and his style of Method acting. It certainly includes Montgomery Clift and that godawful James Dean. Some producer should cast all three of them in the same movie and let them duke it out. When they’ve finished each other off, James Stewart, Spencer Tracy and I will return and start making real movies again like we used to.
William Holden on Humphrey Bogart
I hated that bastard.
Alfred Hitchcock on All Actors
I never said all actors are cattle. What I said was: all actors should be treated like cattle.