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Olivia de Havilland

Legendary Leading Lady

Jack [Warner], for example, said, "Oh, you don't want to play Melanie. You want to play Scarlett." I said, "I don't want to play Scarlett. I want Melanie." It's because I was so young. I had for four years been earning my own living, going through all the problems of a career woman, self-supporting and even contributing to the support of others, which is what Scarlett did. That's what Scarlett did. So, I knew about being Scarlett in a sense, but Melanie was someone different. She had very, deeply feminine qualities. Scarlett was a self-absorbed person. She had to be. Career women have to be, that's all there is to it. But, Melanie was "other people-oriented," and she had these feminine qualities that I felt were very endangered at that time, and they are from generation to generation, and that somehow they should be kept alive, and one way I could contribute to their being kept alive was to play Melanie, and that's why I wanted to interpret her role.
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Olivia de Havilland

Legendary Leading Lady

I came back from this experience, and I thought -- because there was a great stigma to mental illness at that time, it was not understood, and families that had a case would never speak of it to anybody else, it was a true skeleton in the closet -- I thought, "These boys, their families, how are they going to react? They need education. They need hope, and the boys must be treated with some kind of understanding." And then, of course, The Snake Pit came along. That was wonderful. That was just after the end of the war, and here was my opportunity to do something about that. And it was a marvelous story, an autobiography written by this young woman who had become really seriously mentally ill, was institutionalized and remarkably was cured in a day when they had no drugs at all for treatment, but the therapy that they used then actually worked in her case, and so I thought this will educate families. People will understand. Patients will understand, and it's a hopeful story because it ends in a cure. That film, in New York, when it was released, ran one year in one theater. People flooded to it.
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Olivia de Havilland

Legendary Leading Lady

Olivia de Havilland: I saw her in the play, wonderfully played by Wendy Hiller, a brilliant performance, but very stylized. It was an adaptation of Henry James's Washington Square, as you know. And I thought, "I see another way to play Catherine," because stylization will not work on film. It would be artificial. I just knew, at the end of the second act, I had to play Catherine. I had to do it, and I was, of course, by now, completely independent and could make my own decisions to take my own initiatives. So, I thought of the directors who would have a particular feel for this material and whom I admired. Two of them I had worked with, and the third I had not worked with. The first two were caught up in other commitments and were not free. The third one had just founded, together with two other directors -- Capra and George Stevens -- his own independent film company, Liberty Films at Paramount, and that man was Willie Wyler. So my agent persuaded him to say nothing to anyone, to get on the train, go to New York, see The Heiress, and he, of course, was looking for material. It was quite wonderful. Never will forget the night I knew he had arrived, the day he arrived in New York, and I knew he would go straight to the theater to see the play, and he had promised to call me afterwards. Well, I waited for that phone call, and I waited, and it came, and he said, "I've seen it. I like it. Let's do it."
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Michael Dell

Founder & Chairman, Dell Inc.

The earliest PCs had IBM's name on the outside but there was no IBM on the inside. And what I saw was that not only did it take an enormous amount of time for the components to get from the people who made them all the way to the customer, but it was a very inefficient and expensive process. So I would read about improvements in technology in Byte magazine, but then it would take a year or more before you could actually buy it. So I was kind of a frustrated consumer, thinking, "Hey, where is all this stuff that I keep reading about?" and kind of thought, "Well gee, what if you could sell directly to the end customer and do it way more efficiently with better service, the people who really knew about the product. Now, I had no idea this thing called the Internet would come along and make it real easy for people to buy things online and connect, but absolutely felt that over time more and more people would be knowledgeable enough to buy on the phone.
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Michael Dell

Founder & Chairman, Dell Inc.

Michael Dell: The way this would work is, let's say you went to ComputerLand -- there used to be such things in the United States, around every street corner -- and you bought a computer and it didn't work. Well, you'd put it back in the car and you'd go there and (say) "Fix this thing," and you'd come back a week or so later and they'd give it to you. So our idea was that you'd call us on the phone and say, "Hey, our computer is not working," and we'd come the very next day and fix it. It turns out there were all sorts of third party companies that had field service networks -- companies like Xerox, for example, who had all these technicians all over the country who were kind of waiting for copiers to fail. So they had this fixed capacity. And so we could buy up that excess capacity at way less cost than we could put it in ourselves, and instantly have way better service. Actually, Xerox is the company we used for quite some time in that.
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Michael Dell

Founder & Chairman, Dell Inc.

When I was 16, I got this job working for a newspaper in Houston, and my job was to sell subscriptions to the paper on the telephone. And I realized two things when I was doing this. I realized that people that were buying the newspaper generally had two things in common. Either they were moving to a new residence or they were getting married. And it turns out that you could go find information about both of those things in enormous quantities. So in the state that I lived in -- in Texas -- when you want to get a marriage license you have to file with the state and it's public information, particularly the address that you want the license sent to once it's issued. So I hired all of my friends and went to every county in the surrounding 16 counties in Houston, captured the addresses of all the people that applied for marriage licenses and sent them a direct mail offer to offer them the newspaper for a free trial and then a subscription, and ended up making a fair sum of money for a teenager.
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Michael Dell

Founder & Chairman, Dell Inc.

We sort of have a very interesting place in the world. We're kind of in between all these technology ingredients that are evolving at an enormous pace, almost independent of need. They're really based on scientific principles and physical laws and how those can be extended and driven. So you have all these ingredients like microprocessors and software and memory and hard disk drives and rotating media, optical storage and networking and all these things. And then you have all of these billions of people out there who are trying to get something done, trying to be productive. They're trying to entertain themselves. They're trying to provide education, or medicine, or run a small business, or run a really big business or fire department or whatever -- hospital -- or whatever it might be. So we kind of see our job as, "How do we understand all those requirements? Take all these ingredients, and really make this as simple as possible, and allow the technology to be used by the most number of people in the world."
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Joan Didion

National Book Award

Joan Didion: Vogue used to have a contest for college seniors called the Prix de Paris, and my mother had pointed it out to me when we were living in Colorado Springs during the war, and we were snowbound, and we were looking through Vogue. We had all these little entertainments, and she pointed it out to me as something I could win when I got old enough. So lo and behold, I entered it, and I did win it. So the prize at that time was a job.
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Joan Didion

National Book Award

Joan Didion: I just wanted to write a fast novel. You always have a vision of what kind of object a piece of fiction is going to be, or anything that you're making. In that case, it was going to exist in a white space. It was going to exist between the paragraphs. Some of the chapters are only three or four lines long in that book, and I found a way to speed it up. I had started it -- just because I didn't know how else to start it -- I started it with two or three characters (who) have short first-person statements, and then it goes into a "close third" for what appears to be the rest of the book, but as the book comes to an end and starts gaining momentum, you can pick up a lot of momentum by going back to this device from the beginning. This sounds so technical. You go back to that first person and shorter and shorter bursts, and it really gives you a lot of speed. So I was sort of thrilled with that.
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