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Hollywood Put Downs

Updated on September 28, 2014

Eminent Insults

Hollywood stars have a tendency to go over the top in praising each other, at least in public. It is reassuring to know that in private, (and sometimes not so private) they do not always express such cloying sentiments.

Here is a selection of some of the best put downs by and about Hollywood celebrities. Some are benign, some remarkably cutting, all are funny. Read and enjoy!

Photograph by Frank Q. Brown / Los Angeles Times
Photograph by Frank Q. Brown / Los Angeles Times

Harry Cohn - not Mr Popular

It would be putting it mildly to say that Harry Cohn, the head of Columbia Picture Studios in the 1940s and 1950s, was not a popular man in Hollywood circles. His funeral (pictured, right) was attended by a remarkably big crowd, provoking the remark from Red Skelton:

"It proves what Harry always said: Give the public what they want and they'll come out for it."

When a member of the Temple asked the Rabbi to say "one good thing" about the deceased Cohn, he paused and said "He's dead".

"A plumber's idea of Cleopatra."

- W. C. Fields talking about Mae West

He's been famous longer than he's been a person - Dustin Hoffman

Warren Beatty has always acted like a Movie Star even when no one knew who he was. - Dwayne Hickman

He's in danger of waking up one morning in his own arms - Mamie Van Doren

I like Warren. I think he's talented. He's just not fun to be with - Robert Altman

"They asked Jack Benny to do something for the Actor's Orphanage, so he shot both his parents and moved in." - Bob Hope

Joan Crawford and Bette Davis - They each claimed there was no feud. Oh no?

Both were actresses of high stature and both women were extremely jealous of each another. Bette Davis had a New York theatrical background and her acting garnered her a total of ten Oscar nominations for Best Actress. Joan Crawford had the poise, beauty and glamour of a supermodel - something that Bette did not possess.

Davis on Crawford:

The best time I ever had with Joan Crawford was when I pushed her

down the stairs in 'Whatever Happened to Baby Jane'

I wouldn't piss on Joan Crawford if she were on fire

Joan always cries a lot. Her tear ducts must be close to her bladder

When asked why she thought Joan Crawford's four marriages had not worked out. Bette replied:

" I can only assume that she wasn't a much better wife than a mother."

Crawford on Davis:

I had no idea of the extent of her hate, and that she planned to destroy me...I still get chills when I think of the treachery that Miss Davis indulged in.

Miss Davis was always partial to covering up her face in motion pictures. She called it 'Art.' Others might call it camouflage- a cover-up for the absence of any real beauty.

On the set of "Baby Jane" Joan was asked about the differences between herself and Bette Davis, Joan stated: "Bette likes to rant and rave. I just sit and knit. She yelled and I knitted a scarf from Hollywood to Malibu."

On Marlon Brando:

Most of the time he sounds like he has a mouth full of wet toilet paper - Rex Reed

Mr Mumbles - Frank Sinatra

I don't mind that I'm fat. You still get the same money - -Marlon Brando, 1989

On Katharine Hepburn:

She ran the gamut of emotions from A to B - Dorothy Parker

She wasn't really stand-offish. She ignored everyone equally - Lucille Ball

At the studio (RKO), they called her 'Katharine of Arrogance'. Not without reason, as I could tell you, but why bother? - Estelle Winwood, who played with her in 'Quality Street'

Hepburn to John Barrymore on completion of 'A Bill of Divorcement' in 1932:'Thank goodness I don't have to act with you any more.'

Barrymore:'I didn't know you ever had, darling.'

She has a face that belongs to the sea and the wind, with large rocking-horse nostrils and teeth that you just know bite an apple every day - Cecil Beaton

"If people don't sit at Chaplin's feet, he goes out and stands where they are sitting." - Herman J. Mankiewicz

On Gary Cooper:

When he puts his arms around me, I feel like a horse

- Clara Bow

He's got a reputation as a great actor just by thinking hard about the next line

- King Vidor

He is a nice, shy, quiet, modest young man, devoid of any brains

- Harold Nicholson

I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin - Oscar Levant

Her body has gone to her head - Barbara Stanwyck

She has breasts of granite and a mind like a Gruyere cheese - Billy Wilder

She was good at being inarticulately abstracted for the same reason that midgets are good at being short - Clive James

She's a vacuum with nipples - Otto Preminger

It's like kissing Hitler - Tony Curtis

She’s the original good time had by all - Bette Davis

Some quick drops of pure acid

On Diana Barrymore:

Diana is a horse's arse, quite a pretty one, but still a horse's arse - her father John Barrymore

On Yul Brynner:

One of the biggest shits I've ever come across in show business. He was just a pig - Jeffrey Barnard

On Humphrey Bogart:

Bogey's a helluva nice guy until 11.30pm. After that he thinks he's Bogart - Dave Chasen

On Claudette Colbert:

An ugly shopgirl - Marlene Dietrich

On Tom Cruise:

He has the habit of treating you like a princess one minute and then like a piece of furniture the next - former girlfriend, Rebecca de Mornay

On Jayne Mansfield

Miss United Dairies herself - David Niven

On Kirk Douglas:

I'm here to speak about his wit, his charm, his warmth, his talent...At last, a real acting job - Burt Lancaster

It would be awful to be like Keith Richards. He's pathetic. It's like a monkey with arthritis trying to go on stage and look young - Sir Elton John

On Ol' Blue Eyes himself:

Make yourself at home, Frank. Hit somebody! - Don Rickles

Hah! I always knew Frank would end up in bed with a boy! - Ava Gardner (about Mia Farrow's marriage to Frank Sinatra)

Frank Sinatra Jr. made these famous remarks onstage during his act at the Koko Motel in Cocoa Beach, Florida:

"I'm going to devote exactly five minutes to my father because, as he once confided in a moment of weakness, that's exactly how much time he devoted to me."

After making jokes in his Las Vegas act about the age difference between Frank Sinatra, 50, and his new bride Mia Farrow, 21, comedian Jackie Mason was repeatedly warned by friends of Sinatra to drop that material from his routine. Three bullets were pumped into his Vegas hotel room, shattering the glass doors and lodging in the mattress of his bed.

"I have no idea who it was who tried to shoot me.... After the shots all I heard was someone singing 'Doobie, doobie, doo.'"

I think he's an ill-bred swine who operates on the level of an animal, with no sensibilities whatsoever - Producer David Susskind

He's the kind of guy that when he dies, he's

going up to heaven and give God a bad time for making him bald - Marlon Brando

The nicest thing I can say about Frances Farmer is that she is unbearable - William Wyler

On Madonna:

Armed with a wiggle and a Minnie Mouse squawk, she is coarse and charmless - Sheila Johnson

I look at my friendship with her as like having a gallstone. You deal with it, there is pain, and then you pass it. That's all I have to say about Schmadonna - Sandra Bernhard

Not in this lifetime. Why? Because I'm the only one she hasn't done it to - Sharon Stone (when told Madonna has said she wants to kiss her)

She is closer to organized prostitution than anything else - Morrissey

She is so hairy, when she lifted up her arm, I thought it was Tina Turner in her armpit - Joan Rivers

Making a film with Greta Garbo does not constitute an introduction - Robert Montgomery

And finally a self-insult.......

Our grateful thanks to Liberace:

I've done my bit for motion pictures; I've stopped making them -


Did you enjoy the lens? Add any insults you like......

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