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Teresa Wright

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Interview:

Excerpt 8   

Reminiscences of Teresa Wright

New York, June 1959

On Samuel Goldwyn

Q: You must have been friends with Sam Goldwyn a long time?

Yes, we were friendly enemies for years. Like many kids who go out under contract, being from the theatre you go out originally with a chip on your shoulder -- "Nobody's going to make me do this," or "I'm not going to do it that way," and so on. Did you see the Academy Award TV show the other night? I thought Mort Sahl's story, of the actors who go out there -- they've been out there five years but they won't give in, they still live in a hotel and they buy in small quantities, like the bottle of instant coffee and one coke. The man said, "You can save a little if you buy a case," and the actor said, "Well, I might be going back to New York tomorrow." -- It's an indication: you thought you were holding on to your integrity as long as you weren't really giving in, to stay there.

Well, with Sam, we had our ups and downs. I sure admire him as a producer more than any other producer out there. I think his record is really a marvelous one, and I love his intense interest in each show that he does. He really is convinced that it is the greatest. So many of them -- you know that famous story of his about "I don't care if this picture makes a dime, as long as every man, woman and child in American sees it." It's true. So many of them really reach a point where it's a business, a job to make money and they want to make money, but they don't really care how good it is. But he does. He cares more than anybody I ever met out there. I really have great love and admiration for him for that. I think they really are good, many -- but of course he cared just was much about the ones that were flops. I think he's had a couple of terrible ones. Was it "Marco Polo"? -- that was one of the bad ones. Then he had a couple that were artistic failures, and I think those hurt him very much, because he really cared just as much about those as he did about the big money-makers.

Q: This is hard to reconcile with the picture we have of him as an immigrant boy, a businessman --

Well, it isn't true. He really is -- for my money, I don't know of anyone who is as artistic, that is, as desirous of creating something good as he is. I feel that Sam Goldwyn, more than anyone out there, is making, and all his life has been making, pictures because he cares about making them, and cares about making them good. Though he loves to make money, naturally, I really believe what he meant behind that statement, "I don't care if it makes money so long as everyone sees it."

© 1959 Columbia University and the Oral History Research Office

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