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<i>Stargayzing</i> Quote of the Day: Edward G. Robinson

Stargayzing Quote of the Day: Edward G. Robinson

Edward G. Robinson painting
Robinson with co-star Joan Bennet in Fritz Lang’s superb 1944 film noir “The Woman in the Window”

Edward G. Robinson was not only one of the great character actors of the classical period of American film, but also a very erudite man who amassed a distinguished collection of impressionist paintings, which deliciously contradicted his image as a tough guy.

I found this terrific story in Leonard Lyons’ Notes from the Lyons’ Den:

In 1944 Robinson was in New York and visited the Museum of Modern Art.  He walked through the galleries and stopped to admire a painting by Grant Wood.  He studied it from various angles, walking to the left, then to the right, taking a few steps back, and then peering at it close up.  He noticed one corner of the painting had been dirtied.  Robinson drew his handerchief and polished the spot by using the standard, low-tech method—first wetting the handkerchief on his tongue.

Of course the a museum guard saw this rushed up to the screen star, and shouted: “Stop it!  You can’t do that here!”

“Oh yes, I can,” replied Robinson, pointing to the card under the painting.  It read: “Loaned by Edward G. Robinson.”

Edward G. Robinson art collection
In this still from Warner Bros.’ 1955 “Illegal”, Edward G. Robinson looks at two paintings (including a Degas, left) that were loaned to the studio by—that’s right—Edward G. Robinson


  1. monophylos
    March 24, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    What a great little story! I have to say that while everyone remembered Edward G. Robinson best for his gangster roles, I’ve always preferred him when he was playing smart, sarcastic detectives, as in _The Stranger_ and (of course) _Double Indemnity_. There’s a big gap in my spotty knowledge of classic cinema though in that I’ve never seen any of the films where Robinson played a _noir_ victim, e.g. _Scarlet Street_. I’ve actually slightly resisted watching that movie for the silly reason that I think it’d be unsettling for me to see a scrappy little guy like Edward G. Robinson being treated like crap.

    • David Munk
      March 25, 2014 at 11:44 am

      Thank you so much for reading Stargayzing. I’m so glad you took the time to comment. The best way to stay in touch is by signing up for the once a month Stargayzing newsletter on the home page. Thanks again for your checking in. David

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