Robert Benchley

(1889–1945)

Robert Benchley

Anecdote 1...

Benchley was attending the Broadway premiere of a play during which a telephone rang on an otherwise deserted stage. “I think that's for me,” remarked Benchley, and he rose and left the theater.

Quote-worthy...

Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isnt the work he is supposed be doing at that moment.

~Robert Benchley

Anecdote 2...

A scene in one of Benchley’s movie shorts required that he be strung up in a mess of telephone wires above a street. While waiting for the final camera, he said to his wife, Gertrude, “Remember how good at Latin I was in school?”

“Yes.”

“Well, look where it got me.”

Biographical Note: 

Robert Benchley was a U.S. humorist, drama critic (for Life from 1920-29—and the New Yorker from 1929-40), film actor, and member of the famed Algonquin Round Table. He published 15 volumes of his collected humorous essays and acted in several films. His whimsical sketches, collected under such titles as Of All Things (1921), From Bed to Worse (1934), My Ten Years in a Quandary (1936), Inside Benchley (1941), and Benchley Beside Himself (1943), are mostly about people confronted with the complex absurdities of modern life. He also enjoyed poking fun at himself, as evidenced by the following quotes:

“I had just dozed off into a stupor when I heard what I thought was myself talking to myself. I didn’t pay much attention to it, as I knew practically everything I would have to say to myself, and wasn’t particularly interested.” (Chips off the Old Benchley)

“It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by then I was too famous.”