Oscar Levant

From Quotes
Love's pure silver flame gives each innermost spirit invisible warmth.
A Haiku Verse
Jump to: navigation, search

Oscar Levant (December 27, 1906August 14, 1972) was an American pianist, composer, author, comedian, and actor. He was more famous for his mordant character and witticisms, on the radio and in movies and television, than for his music.


  • It's not a pretty face, I grant you. But underneath its flabby exterior is an enormous lack of character.
    • Describing himself, in lines he contributed to An American In Paris (1951), although officially credited to Alan Jay Lerner, as told in The Memoirs of an Amnesiac (1965); also quoted in The Dictionary of Biographical Quotation of British and American Subjects (1978) by Richard Kenin and Justin Wintle, p. 485
  • The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.
    • As quoted in The New Speaker's Treasury of Wit and Wisdom (1958) by Herbert Victor Prochnow, p. 322
  • I don't drink. I don't like it — It makes me feel good.
    • As quoted in TIME magazine (5 May 1958)
  • I'm a study of a man in chaos in search of frenzy.
    • As quoted in TIME (5 May 1958)
  • There is a thin line between genius and insanity.
    I have erased this line.
    • As quoted in Celebrity Register : An Irreverent Compendium of American Quotable Notables (1959) by Cleveland Amory
  • Strip away the phony tinsel of Hollywood and you will find the real tinsel underneath.
    • As quoted in Jewish Wit (1962) by Theodor Reik, p. 104, also in Inquisition in Eden (1965) and Whatever It Is, I’m Against It (1984) by Nat Shapiro
  • I once said cynically of a politician, "He'll double-cross that bridge when he comes to it."
    • The Memoirs of an Amnesiac (1965), p. 13; also quoted in The Quotable Politician (2003) by William B. Whitman, p. 31
  • An epigram is only a wisecrack that's played at Carnegie Hall.
    • As quoted in Coronet Magazine (September 1968)
  • Happiness isn't something you experience; it's something you remember.
    • As quoted in TIME (28 August 1972)
  • I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin.
    • As quoted in The Wit and Wisdom of Hollywood (1972) by Max Wilk
  • I envy people who drink — at least they know what to blame everything on.
    • As quoted in The Portable Curmudgeon (1992) by Jon Winokur, p. 88
  • What the world needs is more geniuses with humility; there are so few of us left.
    • As quoted in On the 8th Day — God Laughed (1995) by Gene Perret, p. 95
  • The only difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is that the Democrats allow the poor to be corrupt, too.
    • As quoted in The Quotable Politician (2003) by William B. Whitman, p. 30
  • I am no more humble than my talents require.
    • As quoted in Memorable Quotations : Jewish Writers of the Past (2005) edited by Carol A. Dingle
  • I have given up reading books; I find it takes my mind off myself.
    • As quoted in Memorable Quotations : Jewish Writers of the Past (2005) edited by Carol A. Dingle
  • I was once thrown out of a mental hospital for depressing the other patients.
    • As quoted in Memorable Quotations : Jewish Writers of the Past (2005) edited by Carol A. Dingle
  • Once he makes up his mind, he's full of indecision.
    • On President Dwight D. Eisenhower, as quoted in The Nastiest Things Ever Said about Republicans (2006) by Martin Higgins, p. 83


  • Every time I look at you I get a fierce desire to be lonesome.
  • I have no trouble with my enemies. But my god damn friends... they are the ones that keep me walking the floors at night.
  • I'm going to memorize your name and throw my head away.
  • Roses are red, violets are blue, I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
  • So little time and so little to do.
  • There are two sides to every question: my side and the wrong side.

Quotations about Levant

  • It is not always possible to predict the response of a doting Jewish mother. Witness the occasion on which the late piano virtuoso Oscar Levant telephoned his mother with some important news. He had proposed to his beloved and been accepted. Replied Mother Levant: “Good, Oscar, I’m happy to hear it. But did you practice today?”
  • Pearl is a disease of oysters. Levant is a disease of Hollywood.

External links

Wikipedia has an article about: