George Burns Quotes

George Burns, 1896 – 1996

Born: 20 January 1896, New York City
Died: 9 March 1996, Beverly Hills, California

Born Nathan Birnbaum, his parents were Jewish immigrants from Austria. He started entertaining at a very early age, his own stories talked about singing with the Peewee Quartet and busking at age six or seven, his death certificate listed “years in occupation as 95. He quit school after fourth grade to focus on show business, changing his name to George Burns. He tried a little of everything, including trick roller skating, “adagio dancing”, and standup comedy in vaudeville. In 1923 he went on stage with Gracie Allen as his “straight man” and they were an instant hit with the crowd. Burns noticed, however, that Allen was getting the better laughs, so he reversed roles and they created a “Dumb Dora” act which was a hit through vaudeville, radio, and television until she retired in 1958. They married in 1926 and stayed together until her death in 1964. After Allen’s retirement, Burns’ show lasted only a year. He worked as a producer of other shows and played clubs until Jack Benny’s death in 1974, at which point he was asked to take over Benny’s role in The Sunshine Boys, the first movie Burns had acted in for 36 years. Based on that success, he played the part of the creator in with John Denver in 1977. He was in nine more films through 1994. He played nightclubs until failing health caused him to cancel his appearance for his 100th birthday show at Caesars Palace. He died of cardiac arrest 49 days into his second century. A cigar smoker since a very early age, possibly as early as seven, he was buried with three cigars in his pocket. According to the New York Times’ obituary, he also had ten $100 bills, a five, and three ones in his pocket. Alas, the obituary is not online so I can’t tell why he had that cash on him at the time.

George Burns quotes:

Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.
    George Burns

Actually, it only takes one drink to get me loaded. Trouble is, I can’t remember if it’s the thirteenth or fourteenth.
    George Burns

Age to me means nothing. I can’t get old; I’m working. I was old when I was twenty-one and out of work. As long as you’re working, you stay young. When I’m in front of an audience, all that love and vitality sweeps over me and I forget my age.
    George Burns

And God said: ‘Let there be Satan, so people don’t blame everything on me. And let there be lawyers, so people don’t blame everything on Satan.’
    George Burns

At my age flowers scare me.
    George Burns

Bridge is a game that separates the men from the boys. It also separates husbands and wives.
    George Burns

By the time you’re eighty years old you’ve learned everything. You only have to remember it.
    George Burns

By [age] 93, I had shrunk quite a lot. My car was known as the Phantom Cadillac. People would see it whizzing by and they would swear there was no driver.
    George Burns – Interview with Arthur Marx (1994)

Define your business goals clearly so that others can see them as you do.
    George Burns

Do you know what it means to come home at night to a woman who’ll give you a little love, a little affection, a little tenderness? It means you’re in the wrong house.
    George Burns

Don’t stay in bed, unless you can make money in bed.
    George Burns

Everything that goes up must come down. But there comes a time when not everything that’s down can come up.
    George Burns

First of all you’ve got to have talent. And then you’ve got to marry her like I did.
    George Burns

First you forget names, then you forget faces. Next you forget to pull your zipper up and finally, you forget to pull it down.
    George Burns

For thirty years my act consisted of one joke. And then she died.
    George Burns

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