“I wish I could say that my childhood was a happy one, but I wouldn’t be honest. I was lonely most of the time. A child actor’s childhood is not a normal one. People continually saying ‘What a cute little boy!’ creates innate conceit. But the adulation is only one part of it … Other kids prove themselves once, but I had to prove myself twice with everyone.”
I became a beatnik and a bum. I had no residence. My clothes were at my parents’ [house] but I didn’t live anywhere. My personality had suffered during my marriage and I was trying to recoup it.
A child lives in a world of its own, so, logically, a successful story for children must strike a chord in that world; possibly involve something he would like to do if he had the chance, like fly with his own wings or go down a rabbit hole, but above all, it must be something he can understand. Anything a child understands, chances are he will enjoy. However, everyone seems to enjoy these successful, so-called children’s stories. For instance, you’ll never meet a truthful person who says he doesn’t like movie cartoons, especially a man. Someone said that women were always women, and men were always children.
— in the Humboldt Guardian, June 24, 1954
“I had everything. I was earning more than $50,000 a year, working steadily with good parts. Then I started putting all my spare time in my arm. I’m not really sure why I started using narcotics. I was 17 when I first experimented with the stuff. In no time at all I was using whatever was available, mostly heroin, because I had the money to pay for it.”
— (Standing before a California judge in 1961 on his drug addiction)
“I really feared people. The other kids didn’t accept me. They treated me as one apart. I tried desperately to be one of the gang. When they rejected me, I fought back, became belligerent and cocky and was afraid all the time.”
— (in his adolescence)
“I’m going to save my money and go to college, then become a G-man.”
— (as a child)
“I have found that memories are not very useful. I was carried on a silver platter and then dumped into the garbage can.”
— (on his rise and fall in Hollywood)