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Key to success: Vision Key to success: Passion Key to success: Perseverance Key to success: Preparation Key to success: Courage Key to success: Integrity Key to success: The American Dream Keys to success homepage More quotes on Passion More quotes on Vision More quotes on Courage More quotes on Integrity More quotes on Preparation More quotes on Perseverance More quotes on The American Dream


Sidney Poitier

Oscar for Best Actor

I went to Marty, and I said -- Marty Baum, the agent who put me on to it. -- I said, "I read the script, and I can't play it." And he said, "Why can't you play it?" I said, "I can't play it because this is a father, and he has a child, and these guys kill his child to intimidate him. And the script permits that intimidation. So the writers feel that that's just for them a plot line. You know? It's not important to them." And I said to him, I said, "I can't play that, because I have a father. And I know that my father would never be like that. He would never under any circumstances be like that." I said, "As a father, I would never be able to not attack those guys, do something to show how I am, to articulate me as a human being." And he says, "That's why you don't want to do it?" And I said, "That's why." He says, "You need money?" And I did. My second daughter was about to be born, and I needed the money. I really needed it, and the money was $750 for playing this part, which was a lot of bucks.
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Sidney Poitier

Oscar for Best Actor

Anyway, I couldn't do it. Now, that speaks of who I was. It still speaks of who I was. And it speaks of who I am. But who I am is my father's son. That's who I am. And I spent my life with him until I left him at the age of 15. And I've seen him behave with my mother and their children. And I've seen him with my mother, how he treats her. I grew up on that. I know how to be a decent human being. So I couldn't play it, and I didn't play it. I left Marty's office, and I went to 57th Street. Yes, 57th Street and Broadway. There was a loan office there called something-something finance that you could go in and borrow money on your furniture, on your car or whatever. I needed $75 to pay Beth Israel Hospital for the birth of my child. And I had to put up my furniture, such as it was. And they loaned me that money. I paid Beth Israel Hospital, and my baby was born.
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Sidney Poitier

Oscar for Best Actor

I hit the age of 15 not being afraid. I was on my own in New York City at the age of 15. I was respectful to people. As my father explained to me, to elders you say "sir" if it is a man. To elders you say "ma'am" if it is a woman. You respect older people. I learned from him a certain way of behavior. But what I learned was not in terms of something I got out of a book. What I learned was an internal connectedness to life, in the family, in the small community where we lived, how people treated each other, particularly how my father treated his friends and my mother, you see. So I came at 15 to Miami, Florida with a sense of that humanity. That is why I am sitting in this chair now. All of what I feel about life, I had to find a way in my work to be faithful to it, to be respectful of it. I couldn't and still can't play a scene, I cannot play a scene that I don't find the texture of humanity in the material. I can't.
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Colin Powell

Former Secretary of State, United States of America

Colin Powell: One night after working on the house, I tried to buy a hamburger at a drive-in place in Columbus. I knew I couldn't go in, I didn't try to go in, I just tried to order it on the little speaker box for it to be brought out. The young lady came out to take my order, the way it was done in those days, and she looked in the car and she asked me if I was Puerto Rican, and I said "No." And then she asked me if I was an African student studying at the Infantry School. I said, "No, I'm not an African student studying at the Infantry School, I'm an American." And she said, "I'm terribly sorry, but I can't bring it out to the car, you'll have to get out and go around to the back." And I said, "Thank you very much, no thanks," and I drove off.
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Colin Powell

Former Secretary of State, United States of America

Colin Powell: Well, Washington is a battlefield in and all its own. As you become more senior in the military, you really do have to have an understanding - to be successful - of how the political process works and how to deal with public relations, and how to convey the story of the armed forces to the American people. The political process and the media are two things you really do have to master. Not because you want to be a spinmeister, but because the political process is how the country runs, that's how democracies run. So you have to know how to go up and testify on Capitol Hill and satisfy members of the House and Senate as to how you're planning to spend the money which the Constitution gives them the authority to appropriate every year. You've got to do it every year, whether you like it or not. You have to expect to be punched around a little bit, challenged. You have to expect people will want to spend less money than you want. And you have to expect to hear parochial constituent interest from individual congressman, because that's why they were elected, to represent parochial constituent interests. And that's all part of the process. You have to understand that the media is out to find anything about you that you don't want them to know. That's their role in the democracy. They are the fourth estate. And your responsibility is to tell the American people as much as you can about what you're doing with their sons and daughters and their money. But you're also supposed to protect their sons and daughters, and so there may be things you don't want to tell the media. And so there's this great contest that takes place, but it's a healthy contest. Any senior general or admiral who doesn't understand that you have to do this isn't going to be very successful. You can't just rant and rave at the political process, or be mad because The Washington Post or The New York Times said something unpleasant about you that day. You've just got to keep doing your job to the best of your ability. To some extent, it's war in a different way. Politics is war, without bullets and shells -- usually.
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Harold Prince

Broadway Producer and Director

Harold Prince: They stayed with me, those 175 investors, for most of my producing career, when I was producing and directing my own shows, which is something Abbott had done. I directed and produced the shows, as in Cabaret. The point is that they didn't need us on Broadway. They had Rodgers and Hammerstein doing just fine, and Feuer and Martin doing just fine and Leland Hayward and the Theater Guild. They didn't need us. So when we decided to do the first show, we had to analyze what can we do that will impress people immediately that there are new boys in town and that we found a different way to invent the wheel. And we figured that the way to do that was to do a show as elegantly as it required, but cheaper in terms of cost than anybody was doing them, and get the money back to the investors as soon as possible.
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Harold Prince

Broadway Producer and Director

I think it's very important in the commercial theater to return the investment. I know there are fewer and fewer people who agree with me, because the investor now is so wealthy in his own right that he's the producer. So you look at a Broadway show today, and you will see a whole lot of names over the title, and really who they are is the people who put up the money to put the show on. They can take a loss if it doesn't happen, and it's a shot at a Tony Award and all that sort of thing. They enjoy the theater, but it isn't the safeguard that I think It doesn't restrain you, the way it did us, to have to make it a good investment. Let's see if I can make sense out of this. After a bunch of successes at the box office, it gave us the right to have failures that did something we divined was important for the musical theater form. In other words, you could say to the investor -- and I would do it in a letter -- "I am not certain you'll ever see this money again, but you've been doing just fine," and then we'd do Follies or Pacific Overtures. You'd do a show that you had to do for artistic reasons, that in fact, ultimately, in the case of both of those shows, are somewhat historical, but they never returned a plug nickel to anybody. But the investors didn't care, because they took pride in being part of the process.
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