W. C. Fields

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W. C. Fields (29 January 1880 - 25 December 1946) was an American Actor and Comedian (born William Claude Dukenfield)


  • Here lies W. C. Fields. I would rather be living in Philadelphia.
    • This was an epitaph Fields proposed for himself in a 1925 article in Vanity Fair. It refers to his long standing jokes about Philadelphia (his actual birthplace), and the grave being one place he might actually not prefer to be. This is often repeated as "On the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia.", or "All things considered, I'd rather be in Philadelphia." which he might have stated at other times. It has also sometimes been distorted into a final dig at Philadelphia: "Better here than in Philadelphia." His actual tomb at Forest Lawn in Glendale, California simply reads "W. C. Fields 1880 - 1946".
  • Goddamn the whole friggin' world but you, Carlotta!
    • Fields' last words.
  • Never give a sucker an even break.
    • Collier's (November 28,1925) Fields' is said to have used this line as early as 1923 in the musical comedy 'Poppy'. It became the title of one of his films in 1941 (and Field's character also spoke this line in the earlier film You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (1940)).
  • Once ... in the wilds of Afghanistan, I lost my corkscrew, and we were forced to live on nothing but food and water for days.
    • My Little Chickadee (1940)
  • I was in love with a beautiful blonde once, dear. She drove me to drink. That's the one thing I'm indebted to her for.
    • Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941)
    • Variant: 'Twas a woman who drove me to drink. I never had the courtesy to thank her.
  • I didn't squawk about the steak, dear. I merely said I didn't see that old horse that used to be tethered outside here.
    • To a waitress, in Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941)
  • I never voted for anybody. I always voted against.
    • As recounted by Robert Lewis Taylor in W.C. Fields: His Follies and Fortunes
    • Variant: I never vote for anyone; I always vote against.
  • Back in my rummy days, I would tremble and shake for hours upon arising. It was the only exercise I got.
    • The Temperance Lecture
  • (singing) I'd rather have two girls at twenty-one each, than one girl at forty-two.
    • You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (1940)
  • Some weasel took the cork out of my lunch...
    • You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (1940)
  • If a thing is worth having, it's worth cheating for.
    • My Little Chickadee (1940)


Some of these quotes derive from film roles or stage acts, and some from actual comments by the actor.

File:Its the Old Army Game.jpg
W.C. Fields wearing his early mustache get-up with Louise Brooks in Its the The Old Army Game
  • The income tax was devised to give lawyers and certified public accountants business. Few persons can make head, tail, or middle out of it. Einstein admitted he couldn't.
  • After two days in hospital, I took a turn for the nurse.
  • Ah, the patter of little feet around the house. There's nothing like having a midget for a butler.
  • All the men in my family were bearded, and most of the women.
  • A lot of people wanna be W.C. Fields now, but that's not even who I am.
  • Anyone who hates children and dogs can't be all bad.
    • Variant: Anybody who hates children and dogs can't be all bad. This statement was about Fields rather than by him. It's best known from a tribute to Fields at the Masquer's Banquet on 2/16/1939, by Leo C. Rosten: "Anyone who hates babies and dogs can't be all bad." which Rosten in turn probably took from Cedric Worth (Harper's Monthly, 11/1937) who was quoting a comment made by Byron Darnton, a NY Times reporter.
  • A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money
  • Charlie McCarthy: "Say, Mr. Fields, I read in the paper where you consumed two quarts of liquor a day. What would your father think about that?"
    WC: "He'd think I was a sissy." (from a radio show)
  • WC: "Is it true your father was a gate-leg table?"
    McCarthy: "If he was, then your father was under it!" (from a radio show)
  • Christmas at my house is always at least six or seven times more pleasant than anywhere else. We start drinking early. And while everyone else is seeing only one Santa Claus, we'll be seeing six or seven.
  • Comedy is a serious business. A serious business with only one purpose— to make people laugh.
  • Fields reloading!
    • (Response from his dressing room after a director had shouted, "Camera reloading!")
  • I don't drink water. Fish poop in it.
    • Variant: I don't drink water. Fish fuck in it.
    • (Sometimes the second part of the statement is quoted as a response to a question as to why he didn't drink water. "Water rusts pipes." was also a reason he gave for not drinking it.)
  • Fried!
    • (When asked how he liked children)
    • The actual quote, from a film - The actress asks him, "Do you like children?" and Fields responds, "I do if they're properly cooked."
    • In another film, he says, "I'm very fond of children - girl children, around [age] 18 or 20."
  • Hangman: "Have you any last wish?"
    WC: "Yes, I'd like to see Paris before I die . . . Philadelphia will do." (from My Little Chickadee)
  • Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.
  • I never wanted to be an actor, I wanted to be a drunk. Now I'm neither, but nobody can tell the difference.
  • How well I remember my first encounter with The Devil's Brew. I happened to stumble across a case of bourbon— and went right on stumbling for several days thereafter. (From a radio show, a "temperance lecture".)
  • I ad lib most of my dialogue. If I did remember my lines, it would be too bad for me.
  • I always keep a supply of stimulant handy in case I see a snake— which I also keep handy.
    • Variant: I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake, which I also keep handy.
    • Variant: Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite. Furthermore, always carry a small snake.
  • I am free of all prejudice. I hate everyone equally.
  • I believe in tying the marriage knot, as long as it's around the woman's neck.
  • I certainly do not drink all the time. I have to sleep you know.
  • I don't believe in dining on an empty stomach.
  • I exercise extreme self control. I never drink anything stronger than gin before breakfast.
  • I have been in the entertainment business some forty-three years, and I have never said anything detrimental or anything that might be construed as belittling any race or religion. I would be a sucker to do so because you can't insult the customers.
  • I once spent a year in Philadelphia, I think it was on a Sunday.
  • I was married once— in San Francisco. I haven't seen her for many years. The great earthquake and fire in 1906 destroyed the marriage certificate. There's no legal proof. Which proves that earthquakes aren't all bad.
  • I've been barbecued, stewed, screwed, tattooed, and fried by people claiming to be my friends. The human race has gone backward, not forward, since the days we were apes swinging through the trees.
  • If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.
  • It ain't a fit night out for man or beast. (From one of his "short" films, followed by opening the door and having snow flung in his face.)
  • It was a woman drove me to drink....you know I never did thank her.
  • From It's a Gift, chiding a man who is trying to swindle him out of valuable property: "You're crazy. And I'm drunk. But I'll be sober tomorrow, and you'll be crazy for the rest of your life!"
  • Last week I went to Philadelphia, but it was closed.
  • Madam, there's no such thing as a tough child— if you parboil them first for seven hours, they always come out tender.
  • Man: "I have no sympathy for a man who is intoxicated all the time."
    WC: "A man who's intoxicated all the time doesn't need sympathy."
  • More people are driven insane through religious hysteria than by drinking alcohol.
  • My father...one of the great immorals, er, immortals, of our time.
  • My illness is due to my doctor's insistence that I drink milk, a whitish fluid they force down helpless babies
  • Never mind what I told you - do what I I tell you.
  • Now don't say you can't swear off drinking; it's easy. I've done it a thousand times.
  • Say anything that you like about me except that I drink water.
  • Secretary: "It must be hard to lose your mother-in-law." WC: "Yes it is, very hard. It's almost impossible."
  • Man: "I understand you buried your wife several years ago." WC: "Yes, I had to. She died." (from the film Poppy)
  • Some things are better than sex, and some are worse, but there's nothing exactly like it.
  • Sleep— the most beautiful experience in life— except drink.
  • Start every day with a smile and get it over with.
  • The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep. (from Never Give a Sucker an Even Break, in response to a man who complained of imsomnia)
  • The cost of living has gone up another dollar a quart.
  • The world is getting to be such a dangerous place, a man is lucky to get out of it alive.
    • Variant: It's a funny old world— a man's lucky if he gets out of it alive.
  • There comes a time in the affairs of man when he has to take the bull by the tail and face the situation.
  • There's not a man in America who at one time or another hasn't had a secret desire to boot a child in the ass.
  • Thou shalt not commit adultery ... unless in the mood.
  • Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house unless they have a well-stocked bar
  • The coldest day I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco (also attributed to Mark Twain)
  • Sometimes I wish I wasn't W.C. Fields, but that's only when I can remember who I am.
  • What rascal has been putting pineapple juice in my pineapple juice?
    • (WC Fields claimed that the flask he always carried at his side contained nothing more than pineapple juice. One day, someone tested it by substituting pineapple juice for the contents of the flask, leading to the quote when Fields took a drink.)
  • When I want to play with a prick, I'll play with my own.
    • (Declining to play golf with someone he didn't like)
  • When life hands you lemons, make whisky sours
  • Women are like elephants, to me: I like to look at 'em, but I wouldn't want to own one.
  • Yes, if every other form of persuasion fails.
    • (When asked if he believed in clubs for women.)
  • You can't cheat an honest man. He has to have larceny in his heart in the first place.
  • Here you have some razor blades. And now, play with them!
    • (When talking to some children)
  • If you can't razzle them with dazzle, baffle them with bullshit.
  • I note the derogatory rumors concerning my use of alcoholic stimulants and lavish living. It is the penalty of greatness.
  • A lot of people have bad luck. They should just be like Fields and not give a fuck.
  • On his death bed, he supposedly asked his banker, "Do I have enough money to buy all the children of Philadelphia a bike each?" The banker looked at his notes and said yes. Fields stayed quiet for a moment in deep thought and replied "Well fuck 'em!"
  • I'm looking for loopholes. [Said when caught reading the Bible.]
  • Never drink water, fishes make love in that stuff!
  • When a man,,,,,lies cheat and steals,,,,, but hates children,,,,, there must be something good in him!

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