theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…
‘Château? Shithouse!’ Coral Browne commenting on the set for a production of The Rehearsal by Jean Anouilh. Ned Sherrin‘s Theatrical Anecdotes, Virgin 1991.
‘The quality of the writing? You couldn’t write f**k in the dust on a Venetian blind!’ To an unknown writer at a Hollywood party who questioned the quality of Alan Bennett’s writing in An Englishman Abroad in which Browne played herself opposite Alan Bennett as the spy Guy Burgess. Ned Sherrin’s Theatrical Anecdotes, Virgin 1991.
‘Coral was reading the script of King Lear with her then husband Philip Pearmain, a successful theatrical agent and occasional actor, of cloudy gender. “Just found the perfect part for you darling, “A camp near Dover”.’ Submitted by theatre lover Bruce Martin, 11.10.01.
‘If you really f***ing want to know, I feel as if I’m looking out of a yak’s arsehole.’ On being asked by Tony Guthrie if she was happy with her wig for a production of Tamburlaine in New York. My Name Escapes Me: The Diary of a Retiring Actor by Alec Guinness
‘I could never see what he saw in her, until I watched her eat corn-on-the-cob at Le Caprice.’ Commenting on the affair between Godfrey Searle and Jill Bennett, submitted by theatre lover Bruce Martin, 11.10.01.
‘Nobody we know, dear.’ On seeing the giant phallus used on the set of Peter Brook‘s production of Oedipus for the National in 1968.
‘Like acting with two and half tons of condemned veal.’ Verdict on one of her leading men.
‘…and then there are the droops – the bosoms, the bottom, the jowls. I had a nip about 10 years ago, but I can’t be bothered now. I let Coral Browne be a warning. She had her face done to the extent that when she smiled it was a terrible effort to get the lips back over her teeth again. Diana Rigg, Daily Telegraph 6.8.01.
Cab driver: “Sorry Guv, this cab’s taken”.
Gentleman: “What do you mean, it’s taken? You stopped”.
Cab driver: “I stopped for the lady”.
Gentleman: “What lady?”
Coral Browne: “This fucking lady!”
Originally published on 17-08-2001
© Sarah Vernon
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Great quotes. Another age now, it seems. Today’s stars just don’t seem to have that natural wit. It is sorely missed. I loved her in ‘An Englishman Abroad’, and she really smouldered in ‘The Killing Of Sister George’.
Best wishes, Pete.
Wasn’t there a quote about her costume fitting for a bright red dress and as she walked out on stage for the director’s appraisal she said, “..Darling I look like a fucking fire hydrant!!”
That sounds very familiar! I will check and come back to you.
From as near to the horse’s mouth as it’s possible to get i.e. my friend Rose Collis who wrote the book above: ‘Yes, it’s Coral! It was ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’ designed by her former amour, Cecil Beaton.’