Do you know the celebrities behind these 50 famous quotes?
In the 1989 movie “Dead Poets Society,” John Keating, played by Robin Williams, addressed a class of young men at the prep school where he's teaching. “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world,” he said.
The power that words hold is undeniable, and when they come from some of the most influential celebrities in the world, the impact can be astounding. Whether they are discussing mediocrity, fame, or good and evil, what they say makes its way into the mainstream.
Stacker compiled a list of 50 famous quotes from filmmakers, writers, musicians, actors, and other celebrities using both entertainment and news sources, including Rolling Stone, Essence, and Newsweek.
These quotes span across decades and mediums to the farthest reaches of the globe. The list includes a diverse crop of people. One television writer addresses a graduating class from her prestigious alma mater. A poet explores the grief she feels at the loss of her longtime partner. A director discusses gender and her work. There is a physicist, several billionaires, Pulitzer Prize winners, fashion designers, and an artist dispensing words of wisdom about every topic from aging to the difficulties of balancing work and motherhood. No subject is off limits when it comes to their thoughts and opinions.
Sage, sassy, hysterical, and raw—these celebrity quotes inspire and comfort. They make readers sigh, laugh, and squirm. They appear in commencement speeches, interviews, autobiographies, and memoirs.
Join Stacker as it explores the brilliant, sardonic, and always interesting words and ideas from the mouths and minds of some of the greatest and most well-known celebrities of our time to find out if you can identify who is behind each of these famous quotes.
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- Quote: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
- Previous answer: Wayne Gretzky
Canadian hockey pro Wayne Gretzky attributes the comment to one of his early coaches who said something similar to Gretzky when he wasn’t scoring in an important game. Gretzky listened and took as many shots as he could. The Great One has earned nearly 900 goals in his career.
- Next quote: “The way you create a better future is by studying the past.”
- Previous answer: Steven Spielberg
The multi Oscar-winning director, producer, and writer dispensed these words of wisdom to the graduating class at Harvard in 2016. Steven Spielberg dropped out of college in the 1960s, but went back to earn his degree. He used his experience making “Jurassic Park” toward credits in a paleontology class.
- Next quote: “If you’re going to kick authority in the teeth, you might as well use two feet.”
- Previous answer: Keith Richards
The legendary guitarist from the Rolling Stones said this in his 2010 autobiography “Life.” A founding member of the British rock band, Keith Richards was well-known for his drug use and rock star lifestyle.
- Next quote: “I am pretty fearless, and you know why? Because I don’t handle fear very well; I’m not a good terrified person.”
- Previous answer: Stevie Nicks
The Fleetwood Mac singer discussed fear and the guitar she received at her 16th birthday party in a 2001 Interview magazine tête-à-tête with friend and fellow singer Sheryl Crow. Stevie Nicks said she knew even then that she would be famous.
- Next quote: “Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.”
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- Previous answer: Oprah Winfrey
The media mogul delivered an inspirational commencement speech to the Wellesley College class of 1997 and encouraged the graduates to aim high by creating a grand vision. Oprah Winfrey not only runs a media empire, but she is also an accomplished actor and film producer who grew up in poverty. Her own struggles led her to help and inspire others.
- Next quote: “We are an impossibility in an impossible universe.”
- Previous answer: Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury loved motion pictures, his typewriter (he never owned a computer), Halloween, and comic strips, which he learned to read at a very early age. Maya Angelou interviewed him on “Assignment America” in January 1975. The author of “The Martian Chronicles” and “Fahrenheit 451” discussed science and religion on the show. While he is characterized as a science fiction writer, he preferred to think of himself as an author of fantasy, horror, and the unreal.
- Next quote: “There is always a way and always hope in the next sunrise, and in the next second, and in the next minute.”
- Previous answer: Ziggy Marley
The son of reggae Rastafarian Bob Marley, Ziggy Marley, continued with his father’s inspirational message and laid-back sound. When speaking to Origin magazine, the singer discussed his views on hope. An excerpt from the interview appeared on HuffPost in 2013.
- Next quote: “I think of beauty as an absolute necessity. I don’t think it’s a privilege or an indulgence, it’s not even a quest. I think it’s almost like knowledge, which is to say, it’s what we were born for.”
- Previous answer: Toni Morrison
Novelist and Nobel laureate Toni Morrison lamented on beauty in a Paris Review podcast in 2019, though the original quote comes from an earlier interview for the magazine in 1993. Beauty was a central theme in Morrison’s first novel, “The Bluest Eye.”
- Next quote: “To fulfill a dream, to be allowed to sweat over lovely labor, to be given the chance to create, is the meat and potatoes of life. The money is the gravy.”
- Previous answer: Bette Davis
Award-winning actress Bette Davis wrote about her life and dreams in her 1962 autobiography “The Lonely Life.” Davis also talked about her four marriages and her decades-long career in the entertainment industry in the book. The actress died of breast cancer in 1989 at 81.
- Next quote: “Music itself is going to become like running water or electricity.”
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