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Chuck Jones

Animation Pioneer

I do three to 400 drawings on every picture -- the three to 400 pictures that I used. But sometimes I might draw 50 drawings trying to get one expression, so that it will look right for Bugs, or Daffy. Or something like this. Sometimes it came quickly, like writing, sometimes you come to a dead stop. And I'd have to haul off. I'd have to go and do something, because I couldn't break through, couldn't find what the guy was supposed to be doing, and that's all. You don't have to worry about drawing. After a while it's as easy to draw Daffy, or Bugs, or anything as just movement. I know how to do that, but what's he thinking about? And I have to get that expression to indicate what he's thinking about.
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James Earl Jones

National Medal of Arts

One day, my youngest uncle -- the other one who was the first to go to college, Randy -- and I were sitting out on the front porch. And he was brilliant. He ended up -- he just retired from Boeing Aircraft in Wichita, Kansas. And he knew he wanted to be an engineer, you know, and we would -- you know, boys boasting -- I couldn't top that. So I said, "Well, I'm gonna be an actor on the stage," and whop! from behind. My grandaddy had been listening behind the screen door. That was his way of discouraging that kind of thinking, you know. I was not only forbidden to see my father, the idea that you would really take seriously a life of a troubadour! I mean, my people were very, very simple. They were peasant people, you know? So the idea of somebody making a living as an actor or singer! You sang in church, you know, and you didn't act at all. You tried not to act, you tried to tell the truth. The idea of being a troubadour on the road singing for your supper was very disturbing to him. So, that was his way his way of discouraging that kind of thinking.
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James Earl Jones

National Medal of Arts

I was as content Off-Broadway as I was in a big Hollywood movie, and, I just try to be content wherever I am, you know. An, it doesn't solve anything, it just makes you able to move, from one -- I think I was told yesterday by some wonderful brilliant mind that I met on the path out here, Churchill said, "Success is moving from one failure to the next with undiminished enthusiasm." Well, that's what I was able to do from my early -- so nothing threw me, really. And nothing embittered me, which is important, because I think ethnic people and women in this society can end up being embittered because of the lack of affirmative action, you know. Or the lack of removal of those ceilings, those glass ceilings. And that never happened to me, and I feel blessed. I'm a healthier person because of it. I can pass on a healthier state of mind to my son because of it.
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James Earl Jones

National Medal of Arts

James Earl Jones: Well, I know actors who, at that time, were better than I was. One in particular who was so frightened by his own talent, he would only go to auditions drunk. Self-destruction. And I think, on the other end, there were actors who were not as good as I was, perhaps who could have hung in too, but began to blame everything on race. You know? I mean they were black or whatever, minority race. And I did none of these things. I sort of stayed straight, you know, and square. Very, very square, but always able to walk straight in line, you know, toward my goal. Toward it. The goal was not really important. The goal wasn't to be a millionaire or to be a Hollywood star. That was not the goal. The goal was something about -- the goal was to find the goal, but I knew where it was. It had to do with getting on that stage and finding better and better plays -- and hopefully movie scripts -- to do. To be a part of good story telling. The goal was about that. And nothing threw me off, neither poverty nor discouragement. Nothing threw me off. I didn't know Churchill's theory then, but I lived it.
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James Earl Jones

National Medal of Arts

You're the only person who can tell whether you have talent or not, and there's a certain point where you've go to be really honest with yourself and say, "Yeah, I do, and I'm going on." or "No, I don't." And your parents can't do it for you, and critics can't do it for you. Once you've determined that, then there should be no room for doubt, you know. There is room that, "Well, maybe this isn't the right role for me." That's always going on, you know. You're told every day you're not right for this role. And they might, "It's 'cause you're too tall." They usually don't know why you're not right for it. It's just, you didn't ring a bell for them, that's all. And that's okay. You've got to accept the fact that you don't ring a bell for everybody.
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Quincy Jones

Music Impresario

I used to go in a little closet, a little tiny closet that had four barrels with some two-by-fours and a workbench on it, and just sit there and just turn the world off every time the pain came in and go inside and just -- since I was very young -- just to take all the negative things and the painful things and take that and convert it into something beautiful and positive. So, I could feel that if I turned it on myself, in toward bitterness, it would kill me, it would take me out like it did my brother.
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Quincy Jones

Music Impresario

I finally got a job when I was 11; this guy named Roscoe asked me to press clothes. You know, I was some nice cheap labor there. And, I had a little raggedy bike and so after I pressed and did a pretty good job, he says, "Well, you know, why don't you take them to be cleaned now and you can fill out the bills and put the paper sack over it and deliver them." At 11 years old I was running that whole business for him, and I was proud of that and I was happy that I was capable of being responsible for something and useful.
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Quincy Jones

Music Impresario

We were in the National Guard band, which was an all black unit, which was funny, because Bumps Blackwell, who had the pop band we were in, he was the commanding officer, and we'd go out to Fort Lewis for about three months in the summer time with the band. And, we were master sergeants and all that stuff, and staff sergeants because we were musicians, definitely not because we were soldiers, because we didn't really get that at all. You know, marching and the discipline of what the military thing was about, because we -- it wasn't real because we were National Guard. We were young kids in the National Guard. We put our ages up. We were 14 years old.
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Quincy Jones

Music Impresario

We made $17 a night. You have to learn how to do that, too. And they had wash and wear shirts to carry in the sax case. I got one of those. And when they'd get in a hotel, we'd go to Father Divine's for 15 cents, you know, have the stool and stuff and say "Peace," when you go in the door. You'd fold up your pants and put them underneath the mattress. We couldn't afford to get them pressed. And you'd put your coat in the bathroom, turn the steam on, hang your wash and wear shirt there. Wash your handkerchief, put it on the mirror, and the next morning it's dry and you pull it off and it's already pressed, you know. And so I learned all these things from the guys that had been out there and I just watched. I really paid attention to what was going on, one thing leads to another and you grow.
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Quincy Jones

Music Impresario

I moved to Paris in 1957 to study with Nadia Boulanger, and to work for a record company called Barclay Records. That was an incredible experience. I went back in 1959, did a Broadway show and had a whole big band to play with the show. I was supposed to eventually pick Sammy Davis, Jr. up in London and come back to Broadway. My band was featured in the show with costumes and parts, and plans didn't go that way. So, we got stranded in Europe for ten months after the show closed, which is the closest I ever came to suicide. And, we finally came home. I hocked everything I had in my publishing companies and got the band and all 30 people back home.
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