[PW] ""Definition of an Actor," by Irwin (or Irvin) S. Cobb

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com
Fri Oct 5 10:49:28 PDT 2018


Reagan also used the passage about show business people entering
heaven in a speech back in 1957 as reported in an Iowa newspaper. The
paper did not include an ascription for the passage.

Date: March 09, 1957
Newspaper: Quad-City Times
Newspaper Location: Davenport, Iowa
Article: Sullivan Fans Cut Opera
Author: Mike Connolly
Quote Page 15, Column 4
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt – double-check for errors]
Plus Ronald Reagan's toast to the warm hearted people of show business
-- "When the curtain goes up on eternity and all men must approach the
heavenly gates bearing in their arms that which they have given in
life, then the people of show business will march in the procession
carrying in their arms the pure pearls of tears, the gold of laughter
and the diamonds of stardust that they spread on what might otherwise
have been a rather dreary world."
[End excerpt]

Garson

Garson
On Fri, Oct 5, 2018 at 3:13 AM ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Edward Helmrich wrote:
> > Could you help me find something I've never been able to
> > track down? Ronald Reagan regularly quoted a poem,
> > "Definition of an Actor," by Irwin (or Irvin) S. Cobb. It's not a
> > big thing but if you can find this poem, that'd be great. Thanks!
>
> Below is an excerpt from a speech by Ronald Regan in which he
> attributes statements about show business people to Irvin S. Cobb.
> It's not a poem, and it does not really correspond to "The Definition
> of an Actor", but it may be pertinent. The passage occurs after Reagan
> describes some of the criticisms aimed at show business people.
>
> Speech by Ronald Reagan
> Remarks at the Ford's Theatre Gala
> June 24, 1988
>
> http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=36036
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> And it remained for a columnist named Irvin S. Cobb to respond. And he
> said: "If this be true, and if it be true when the final curtain falls
> all must approach the gates bearing in their arms that which they have
> given in life, the people of show business will march in the
> procession carrying in their arms the pure pearl of tears, the gold of
> laughter, and the diamonds of stardust they spread on what might
> otherwise have been a rather dreary world. And when at last, all reach
> the final stage door, the keeper will say, 'Open, let my children
> in.'"
> [End excerpt]
>
> Here is a description of the poem that may help other researchers.
> Book: Nancy Reagan: The Unauthorized Biography
> Author: Kitty Kelley
> Database: Google Books Snippet; must be verified with hardcopy
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> Reagan suggested ending the nightclub act by reciting a poem entitled
> "The Definition of an Actor" by Irvin S. Cobb, which recounted the
> glories, sacrifices, and contributions of his profession. . . In this
> poetic finale he said that actors weren't quite like doctors or
> lawyers because they didn't do regular work, but they did leave the
> world a better place in which to live. "There wasn't a dry eye in the
> house when he finished," said Bradford.
> [End excerpt]
>
> Garson


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