portrait of W. C. Fields

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Quotes of the Day for 29 January 2003 – W. C. Fields

William Claude Dukenfield was born at Philadelphia on this day in 1880, eldest child of a produce vendor. He only went to school for about four years, and may have left home as early as age 9. He loved to juggle, he worked odd jobs and hustled pool and cards to support himself, practicing his juggling the rest of the time. He may have been the world's greatest juggler by age 20, and his fame and income grew under the shortened name W. C. Fields. He added some comedy to his juggling, and his popularity soared, at the same time he was doing well with juggling in silent films. He married his stage assistant and they had a son in 1904, she didn't want to travel and he lived on the road, so they soon grew to hate each other although they never divorced. He once found himself broke and stranded in a strange town, from that time he took to opening bank accounts everywhere he went - he had at least 700 accounts in different cities around the world in case he ever was stranded there again. His carefully crafted image, the boozer who hated women, children, and dogs, was at least partially true, drinking slowly killed him. That's the side of Fields that has been most preserved in various quote collections, including mine.

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You will find an expanded profile, photo, additional biographical links, and all quotes from this author on the author's Notable Quotable page.


The quotes:

Back in my rummy days, I would tremble and shake for hours upon arising. It was the only exercise I got.

Don't worry about your heart, it will last as long as you live.

Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.

I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake, which I also keep handy.

Madam, there's no such thing as a tough child - if you parboil them first for seven hours, they always come out tender.

Once in the wilds of Afghanistan, I lost my corkscrew, and we were forced to live on nothing but food and water for days.

'Twas a woman who drove me to drink, and I never had the courtesy to thank her for it.

Start off every day with a smile and get it over with.
     - All from W. C. Fields, 1880 - 1946


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