Every now and again I run across someone like Oscar Levant. He was well known in his time, is completely unknown to me and most other people today [I think], and is perhaps worth noting for one reason or another. A few of his quotes are probably familiar. Also, it turns out that he was quite an accomplished person in many ways.
http://www.classical.net/music/comp.lst/acc/levant.htmlThe strength and beauty of his musical accomplishment has long been overshadowed by his public personna. For Oscar Levant, his own music has been silenced by his presumed character: the acerbic crank on the Jack Paar Show; the Broadway showman and Hollywood star; the author of preposterously acute and funny books; the radio and television ringmaster; the concert pianist and Gershwin specialist. No kaleidoscope could serve these many split images.
Two decades after his death, the time has come to re-examine his work as a composer of strong and original music.
Oscar Levant said:Every time I look at you I get a fierce desire to be lonesome.
Happiness isn't something you experience; it's something you remember.
I am no more humble than my talents require.
I don't drink. I don't like it. It makes me feel good.
I envy people who drink - at least they know what to blame everything on.
I have given up reading books; I find it takes my mind off myself.
I have no trouble with my enemies. But my god damn friends... they are the ones that keep me walking the floors at night.
I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin.
I'm a study of a man in chaos in search of frenzy.
Once Dwight Eisenhower makes up his mind, he's full of indecision.
Once I make up my mind, I'm full of indecision.
Roses are red, violets are blue, I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
So little time and so little to do.
Strip away the phony tinsel of Hollywood and you will find the real tinsel underneath.
The only difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is that the Democrats allow the poor to be corrupt, too.
There are two sides to every question: my side and the wrong side.
There is a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.
Underneath this flabby exterior is an enormous lack of character.
What the world needs is more geniuses with humility; there are so few of us left.