My Lunches With Orson reminds us how insightful and devilish Welles could be (and that he had an opinion on everything under the sun). Here’s a sampling of some of Welles’ remarks from his lunch conversations with Jaglom. To learn how My Lunches With Orson came about, read this article.

“I’ve always felt there are three sexes: men, women, and actors. And actors combine the worst qualities of the other two.”

“People would say, ‘So nice to see you.’ He would say, ‘So nice to see you too, but that’s enough.’ ” – Henry Jaglom

On reading books about himself: “They make me wince. Either because they’re too nice, or not nice enough.”

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“To my great sorrow, I’ve got to the age now where all my old minority opinions are ceasing to be minority.”

On Humphrey Bogart: “He was a brave man. He was amusing and original. Very opinionated, with very dumb opinions and not very well read and pretending to be.”

“Nobody’s written well about Central America. Well, there’s Joan Didion. She spent seven days in Central America. Wrote a best seller [Salvador]. It should be called Seven Days in Central America.”

“I’d like to be somebody who died alone in a hotel room—just keel over, the way people used to.”

“That’s the thing about a movie star. We really don’t judge them as actors.”

“I’ve been asked to write some little thing in Paris Vogue, along with a lot of other people who don’t know anything, about why I love Paris.”

“The content should be more important than the ingenuity of the director.”

Woody Allen “has the (Charlie) Chaplin disease. That particular combination of arrogance and timidity sets my teeth on edge….It’s people like me who have to carry on and pretend to be modest.” 

“I believe that intelligence is a handicap in an actor. Because it means that you’re not naturally emotive, but rather cerebral. The cerebral fellow can be aOrson Welles 3 great actor, but it’s harder.”

“I’ve never had any trouble with extreme right-wingers. I’ve always found them tremendously likeable in every respect, except their politics. They’re usually nicer people than left-wingers.”

“The classy gangster is a Hollywood invention.”

“I act and give of myself as a man, but I register and receive with the soul of a woman. The only really good artists are feminine.”

“You see, I’m religious, but you don’t need God and his angels to feel that way.”

“I’d much rather see junk on the TV than bad movies because bad movies stay with me for too long. And if they get a little good, then they’re gonna haunt me. And who needs to be haunted?”

“I don’t read books on film at all, or theater. I’m not very interested in movies. I keep telling people that, and they don’t believe me. I genuinely am not very interested! For me, it’s only interesting to do.”

“I don’t want to know about the hang-ups of the writers or movie people, either. I’m not interested in the artist; I’m interested in his work….I do not mind seeing the artist naked, but I hate to see him undressing.”

“I believe that the movies—I’ll say a terrible thing—have never gone beyond [Citizen] Kane.”

On Joan Rivers’ comedy: “To me it sounds like you’re bugging the girls’ bathroom in a particularly low-class establishment.”

“Gary Cooper turns me right into a girl!”


Right: Photograph of Orson Welles sitting on a fence courtesy of the author.