Everything I do has a moral to it.
It was my mom who told me, "Ernie, if you make even one person happy with your smile or a funny thing you did every day, you'll have accomplished a great deal." And that's all I've ever tried to do.
Fathers and mothers are just people, which means they make mistakes. Don't hold that against them. Whatever flaws they may have, they created you in a moment of love, and are among the few who knew you when. When they're gone, there won't be anyone to take their place.
Every time I step in front of a camera I feel young again. I really do. It keeps your mind active and it keeps you going.
If John Wayne were alive, he’d be rolling over in his grave!
Writers used to make such wonderful pictures without all that swearing, all that cursing. And now it seems that you can't say three words without cursing. And I don't think that's right.
You get kicked around long enough, you become a professor of pain.
It's not your word that matters, it's who you give it too.
I'm what you call a Depression sailor.
I wouldn't trade those 10 years for anything. The Navy taught me a lot of things. It molded me as a man, and I made a lot of wonderful friends.
The Oscar made me a star, and I'm grateful. But I feel had I not won the Oscar I wouldn't have gotten into the messes I did in my personal life.
I don't care whether a role is 10 minutes long or two hours. And I don't care whether my name is up there on top, either. Matter of fact, I'd rather have someone else get top billing; then if the picture bombs, he gets the blame, not me.
I got a job immediately after leaving high school; I was lucky - three dollars a week and all I could eat, working on a vegetable truck.
The trick is not to become somebody else. You become somebody else when you're in front of a camera or when you're on stage. There are some people who carry it all the time. That, to me, is not acting.
I think we all have the urge to be a clown, whether we know it or not.
I don't chart out the life histories of the people I play. If I did, I'd be in trouble. I work with my heart and my head, and naturally emotions follow.
The Navy has changed a great deal. Not that the officers of my day were bad, because I served under a lot of good officers, believe me. But there were a few bad ones, too.
I've been to a number of places and seen for myself the caliber of people who are in the Navy today - in all the services for that matter. This is an altogether different bunch. These people of today are really bright, young, good people.
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