Yet he was also an ambitious, intellectual actor and a passionate student of his craft, and he achieved what most of his peers find impossible: remaining a major star into a craggy, charismatic old age even as he redefined himself as more than Hollywood star. He raced cars, opened summer camps for ailing children and became a nonprofit entrepreneur with a line of foods that put his picture on supermarket shelves around the world.
Ok fine fine – I know he left his first wife for Joanne Woodward…but then proceeded to clock FIFTY YEARS with her…in addition of course to the above….in his honor, I’m watching some of his old flix and discovering some gems. CHECK OUT THESE LINES from “The Hustler” — and we think people were repressed back then? ah no….
Bert Gordon: Sure you got drunk. You have the best excuse in the world for losing; no trouble losing when you got a good excuse. Winning… that can be heavy on your back, too, like a monkey. You’ll drop that load too when you got an excuse. All you gotta do is learn to feel sorry for yourself. One of the best indoor sports, feeling sorry for yourself. A sport enjoyed by all, especially the born losers.
…and, while you gotta see the whole Minnesota Fats scene to appreciate this one fully, it’s still worth quoting given its broad applicability:
Bert Gordon: I don’t think there’s a pool player alive shoots better pool than I saw you shoot the other night at Ames. You got talent.
Fast Eddie: So I got talent. So what beat me?
Bert Gordon: Character.