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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


Olivia de Havilland

Legendary Leading Lady

Jack Warner utterly refused to lend me for Melanie. He wouldn't hear of it. I even went to call on him and begged him. He said no, he wouldn't do it. He would not lend me to Selznick to play the part of Melanie. I was desperate, and I did something, age 22, that really was not correct, but I did it. I called Mrs. Warner, who had been an actress, a lovely, lovely woman -- Ann Alvarado was her name before she met Jack -- and I told her that I would very much like to see her, and would she be kind enough to have tea with me at the Brown Derby, and she said, "Yes." Well, we met. It was raining. I remember that. The Brown Derby, I think, no longer exists. It's a terrible thing that they tore that down. I explained to her how much the part meant to me, and I said, "Would you help me?" She said, "I understand you, and I will help you," and it was through her that Jack eventually agreed, and he says so in his biography. It was Ann who did it. Isn't this wonderful? And finally arrangements were made, an agreement between Selznick and Warner. Selznick had a one-picture commitment with Jimmy Stewart. So he loaned -- he gave up that. He gave that over to Jack Warner who needed him for a film and took me in exchange.
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Olivia de Havilland

Legendary Leading Lady

The whole business of casting, putting it together, taking almost three years, the whole town was bored with the film [Gone With the Wind]. They were so bored with the film, they wished it bad luck, and they all thought it was going to be a big, big flop, a complete disaster, and they were rather pleased at the thought. Well, we just went ahead, quietly working ahead on the lot, six months, retakes after that, and just knew -- I knew we were making a film that was going to have quite a different history from any other film that had ever been made, and it would endure. And by heaven, it has, has it not?
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Olivia de Havilland

Legendary Leading Lady

It wasn't fun for anyone, and it certainly wasn't for William Wyler, a very distinguished man, as the director of the film. One day, we came on the set. It was a long and difficult scene, and he said, "I don't know what this scene is all about. I want you to show me. Just get up there. Start there with your scripts, and just show me what this scene is all about." Well, it was frightful. There we were stumbling along, and we exchange, say, ten lines, and he would say, "Stop. I want you to go back to the beginning. Keep this little exchanges you made, say, with the third exchange of lines. Leave everything else out. Do something different. I don't care what you do, as long as it's different, but keep just that." So we would do that, and then he would say, "Stop. Keep the first exchange. Then I want you to keep the sixth exchange. Drop everything else. Start again." We did that for four hours, and I think Montie Clift realized that perhaps he should kind of work things out with William Wyler and Miss De Havilland.
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Olivia de Havilland

Legendary Leading Lady

The motion picture business is not easy. It was not easy then. It was hard, really hard, exhausting too, in every way physically. It was a six-day week, and Saturday night, it was the custom to ask at the end of the week -- the actors having gotten up at 5:30, 6:00 in the morning to report to makeup. Women had to report at 6:30 on the set, ready, dressed, up on your lines, and ready to shoot. You would work until 6:00, 6:30 at night, but six days a week. The custom was on Saturday night to excuse the company at 6:00 for dinner and come back and shoot until midnight. I can't tell you how hard that was on us, and how the actors disliked doing it and the camera crew, grips, everyone disliked that very much. You know what I did to get around that? Well, I suggested to the cameraman that we put dark circles under my eyes, that he photograph me very badly, and I would show up in the rushes, and then he would say, "What's the matter with her appearance?" "Well, she was very tired, Jack, after the week." Finally, they abandoned that practice, at least they did with me.
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Michael Dell

Founder & Chairman, Dell Inc.

Around Thanksgiving of 1983, my parents kind of made me commit that I wasn't going to do this computer business anymore. I was only going to focus on my studies. So that lasted about ten days. It was during that time that I decided that I was going to start a company. So actually, my parents telling me to stop doing it is probably what caused the company to get created. If they hadn't done that it might've just been a hobby. But what I kind of reflected on in those ten days is that I really love this, and it was enormously exciting, tremendously fun. So like any other 18-year-old who wants to do what their parents don't want them to do, you just don't tell them. So that's what I did. I kind of went about the path to start the company without really telling my parents.
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Michael Dell

Founder & Chairman, Dell Inc.

If you look at our story, at any point in the process you could've gone to conventional experts. In fact, I remember -- I won't name the person, 'cause he's still an extremely well-known author of famous business books, teaches at a very prominent university -- I showed up at a conference when the company was three or four years old, and he was sort of critiquing our business. And he said, "Oh, this will never work." And it was a common experience. When we launched our business in the United Kingdom, we had about 22 journalists show up. And it was sort of funny, because about three or four weeks before we launched, we started actually selling. And the thing was just going like crazy. It was just growing so, so fast, which is a good thing, because when we had the launch, about 21 of the 22 journalists said, "Oh, this is a horrible idea. Never work in the U.K. It's a completely American idea. Don't even think about coming here. You should just pack your bags and go home." Lucky for me we'd already started. "Hey guys, love to entertain some more questions but I got to go back to the office, 'cause we're busy taking orders and making computers."
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Michael Dell

Founder & Chairman, Dell Inc.

We had real challenges in how fast can you build factories and how fast can you hire people and put up new buildings. Hyper-growth sounds really fun and exciting, but, I learned the hard way, there is such a thing as growing too fast, where the wheels sort of come off and you have to take a time out and say, "Wait a second here, let's prioritize." I was absolutely to blame. We were going and doing so many things at one time, 'cause we were really excited. We were like, "Okay, we're going to go in this business, we're going to go in that business, we're going to go to this country and this new product and this new service " It was just too much of a good thing. We had to really sort of hone it back.
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Joan Didion

National Book Award

I did see myself as a novelist, even though I was having trouble finishing this first novel. After it was published, it was only read by about ten people, but they happened to be ten people who gave it to ten other people and eventually -- you know, not only was it not a commercial success, it wasn't by any means, I don't think, a success on its own terms. I didn't know how to do it, and it ended up, because I didn't know how to do it -- I wanted to have a shattered narrative, but I didn't have a clue how to do that, and so it was confusing. So the publisher pressed me to straighten out the chronology, so it became just a simple novel with a flashback, which wasn't my intention at all. But anyway, enough people read it so that I was offered a contract for a second novel.
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