In the middle of my third Hollywood picture The Magician, the earthquake hit Hollywood. Not the real earthquake. Just the talkies.
I can see now that I should have been strong enough to conquer myself.
No, I was not born with a monocle in my eye.
Have you ever walked late at night through a forest when you are first in love?
I used to think then that I was Bohemian, but I know now that I am not. I prefer order and precision to untidiness and looseness.
I was never a villain on the stage. I always played strong, sympathetic types. My first stage role with a speaking part, believe it or not, was as a priest. It wasn't until I began acting in films that the producers and directors saw me primarily as a bizarre villain.
An actor remembers his first piece of published praise. It is written on his heart.
There must have been something in my nature - I believe, with all my heart, that I have conquered it now - which prevented me from being perfectly happy or making a woman perfectly happy.
After my mother died, I found, a little book of hers which recorded everything I had ever done, how I had done it, and how proud she was of her son Conrad.
It is precisely as though I were possessed by some other spirit when I enter on a new task of acting, as though something within me presses a switch and my own consciousness merges into some other, greater, more vital being.
Nothing seems to come up to your expectations. But nothing I had heard about Hollywood was enough.
I was appalled at the amount of study necessary in order to qualify in medicine, and gradually my desire was blunted by a keener - and secret - wish to become an actor.
For me, half the joy of achieving has been the struggle and the fight, the pitting myself against the world and all its competition - and winning.
So now it is time to disassemble the parts of the jigsaw puzzle or to piece another one together, for I find that, having come to the end of my story, my life is just beginning.
I wish, naturally to prevent the possibility that someone may write an accidental, superficial, incomplete and perhaps untrue picture of me.
My birth neither shook the German Empire nor caused much of an upheaval in the home. It pleased mother, caused father a certain amount of pride and my elder brother the usual fraternal jealousy of a hitherto only son.
Looking back across the years, so many pictures flash on the screen of my memory that just as I begin to see one clearly, another slides in, blotting out the first, itself to be pushed aside by the next and the next and the next.
I think the motion picture industry is a stupid business and I despise acting the scenes in short snatches, one at a time. I hate this film work. I am disgusted with myself. On the stage I could never play a part unless I felt it with all my heart and soul.
My father died. It is still a deep regret to me this day that in choosing acting as my career I was forced to hurt him. He died too early to see I had done the right, the only thing.
I turned down the first script offered to me, and the second. I lay on my back one day under an umbrella, in the garden, reading the third, and wondered why I had turned down the first.
I have no illusions about my art. I am what the public made me and, consequently, I am not likely to forget my debt to them.
It is my greatest joy to live a really good part, even though it imposes great strain. An artist is tired but proud when he has created a great work of art. So it is with the actor who really lives a great role and is proud of the part he played.
What use is there for a biography of myself? I'm just a movie actor.
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