George Burns

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George Burns (20 January 1896 - 9 March 1996) was an American comedian and actor; born Nathan Birnbaum; husband of Gracie Allen

Sourced

  • When I was young I was called a rugged individualist. When I was in my fifties I was considered eccentric. Here I am doing and saying the same things I did then and I'm labeled senile.
    • Just you and me Kid (1979)
  • Too bad that all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxicabs and cutting hair.
    • Life magazine, December 1979 issue[1]
  • If I paid $3 or $4 for a cigar, first I'd sleep with it
    • (undated clip played on) CNN Larry King Live, first aired July 4 2003

Unsourced

  • A good sermon should have a good beginning and a good ending, and they should be as close together as possible.
    • Variant: The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending, then having the two as close together as possible.
  • (Regarding his sitcom) I'll tell you something about plot, but don't tell this to Ed Sullivan or Eddie Cantor: it's cheaper than guest stars.
  • Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you've got it made.
    • Variant: The most important thing in acting is honesty. If you can fake that, you've got it made.
      You've got to be honest; if you can fake that, you've got it made.
    • A similar statement to these is attributed to Jean Giraudoux
  • Actually, it only takes one drink to get me loaded. Trouble is, I can't remember if it's the thirteenth or fourteenth.
    • Variant: It takes only one drink to get me drunk. The trouble is, I can't remember if it's the thirteenth or the fourteenth.
  • Age to me means nothing. I can't get old; I'm working. I was old when I was twenty-one and out of work. As long as you're working, you stay young. When I'm in front of an audience, all that love and vitality sweeps over me and I forget my age.
  • At my age, flowers scare me.
  • At my age, the only thing hot waiting for me in my dressing room is a bowl of soup.
  • Be quick to learn and wise to know.
  • Bridge is a game that separates the men from the boys. It also separates husbands and wives.
  • By the time you're eighty years old you've learned everything. You only have to remember it.
  • Do you know what it means to come home at night to a woman who'll give you a little love, a little affection, a little tenderness? It means you're in the wrong house.
  • Don't stay in bed, unless you can make money in bed.
  • Everything that goes up must come down. But there comes a time when not everything that's down can come up.
  • First of all you've got to have talent. And then you've got to marry her like I did.
  • First you forget names, then you forget faces. Next you forget to pull your zipper up and finally, you forget to pull it down.
  • For thirty years my act consisted of one joke. And then she died.
  • Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.
  • Happiness? A good cigar, a good meal, a good cigar and a good woman— or a bad woman; it depends on how much happiness you can handle.
    • Variant: Happiness is a good martini, a good meal, a good cigar and a good woman... or a bad woman, depending on how much happiness you can stand.
  • I can remember when the air was clean and sex was dirty.
    • Variant: It's hard for me to get used to these changing times. I can remember when the air was clean and sex was dirty.
  • I can't understand why I flunked American history. When I was a kid there was so little of it.
  • I don't believe in dying. It's been done. I'm working on a new exit. Besides, I can't die now— I'm booked.
    • Variants on this theme: How can I die? I'm booked.
      I can't afford to die— I'd lose too much money.
  • I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.
    • Variant: I'd rather be a failure at something I love than a success at something I hate.
  • I love to sing, and I love to drink scotch. Most people would rather hear me drink scotch.
  • I smoke 10 to 15 cigars a day, at my age I have to hold on to something.
  • I spent a year in that town, one Sunday.
  • I would go out with women my age, but there are no women my age.
  • I'm at the age now where just putting my cigar in its holder is a thrill.
  • I'm going to stay in show business until I'm the last one left.
  • If it's a good script I'll do it. And if it's a bad script, and they pay me enough, I'll do it.
  • If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn't ask me, I'd still have to say it.
  • If you live to be one hundred, you've got it made. Very few people die past that age.
    • Variant: If you live to the age of a hundred you have it made because very few people die past the age of a hundred.
  • Look to the future, because that is where you'll spend the rest of your life.
  • Nice to be here? At my age it's nice to be anywhere.
    • Variants: It's good to be here. At 98, it's good to be anywhere.
      I'm very pleased to be here. Let's face it, at my age I'm very pleased to be anywhere.
  • No... he's dead.
    • When asked in his late 90s if his doctor knew he still smoked.
  • Old age is when you resent the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated because there are fewer articles to read.
  • People ask me what I'd most appreciate getting for my eighty-seventh birthday. I tell them, a paternity suit.
  • Retirement at sixty-five is ridiculous. When I was sixty-five I still had pimples.
  • Sex at age 90 is like trying to shoot pool with a rope.
  • Sex is one of the nine reasons for reincarnation. The other eight are unimportant.
  • Smartness runs in my family. When I went to school I was so smart my teacher was in my class for five years.
  • This is the sixth book I've written, which isn't bad for a guy who's only read two.
  • We often think the way Gracie talks, but we pride ourselves that we never talk the way Gracie thinks.
  • When I was a boy the Dead Sea was only sick.
  • When Jack Benny has a party, you not only bring your own scotch, you bring your own rocks.
  • You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old.
  • You know you're getting old when you stop to tie your shoelaces and wonder what else you could do while you're down there.
  • Good - when I consider the alternatives.
    • When asked what it was like to be alive at 90

Say goodnight

It's commonly believed that at the end of stage shows Burns would tell his wife "Say goodnight, Gracie", to which she would reply "Goodnight, Gracie". This is actually not true and recordings from the time do not have her using this reply.

External links

Wikipedia
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