Donald Spoto Quotes

Donald Spoto Quotes…
Donald Spoto (June 28, 1941 – February 11, 2023) was an American biographer and theologian. He was known for his best-selling biographies of people in the worlds of film and theater, and for his books on theology and spirituality.

Spoto has written 29 books,  including biographies of Alfred Hitchcock, Laurence Olivier, Tennessee Williams, Ingrid Bergman, James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, and Alan Bates. The BBC/HBO television film The Girl (2012), about Tippi Hedren’s experience during the filming of The Birds (1963), was based in part on Spoto’s work on Hitchcock.

Spoto has also written biographical accounts of the House of Windsor from the Victorian era to Diana, Princess of Wales, and of religious figures such as Jesus, Saint Joan of Arc, and Saint Francis of Assisi; the latter was made into a television program by Faith & Values Media.

Donald Spoto Quotes

“But there is probably nothing in the world as determined as a child with a dream”


Avoid theatrical flourishes – the phrases that sound so damned good that they stand up and beg to be recognized as “good writing,” and therefore must be struck from the text.


“When we renounce our fear of life and give up trying to have it under our control—that is, when we acknowledge our contingency and utter dependence on God—then God comes to us and turns us toward Himself.”


“Less is more” was one of Meisner’s mantras. “Silence has myriad meanings. In the theater, silence is an absence of words, but never an absence of meaning.” Most of all, Meisner urged his students to think of acting a role as “living truthfully under given imaginary circumstances.”


“From his earliest years, Alfred Hitchcock was a loner and a watcher, an observer rather than a participant. “I don’t remember ever having a playmate,” he recalled as an adult. At family gatherings: “I would sit quietly in a corner, saying nothing. I looked and observed a great deal. I’ve always been that way and still am. I was anything but expansive. I was a loner—can’t even remember having had a playmate. I played by myself, inventing my own games.”

Donald Spoto Quotes

“Decades later, we do not watch her as a movie star playing at or around a role, nor are we conscious of her gestures, her slight raising of the eyebrows, the sudden drop of her voice. We do not observe an “artiste” struggling to impress. Grace Kelly, the beautiful actress, disappears when we watch Georgie Elgin in The Country Girl; we see only the real weariness of a woman almost out of strength, almost empty of feeling—except that her feeling, and ours, is indeed too deep for tears.”


The idea of Christian perfection, which began in the ancient monasteries and spread to the world as an ideal, is one of the most appealing, demanding and ultimately hopeless notions of the spiritual life. By definition, only God is perfect—that is, complete and independent unto [God’s] self. Humans, on the other hand, are radically imperfect, and that, paradoxically, is welcome news, for the recognition of our incompleteness throws us on the mercy of God and enables us, as Saint Paul stressed, to put up with one another’s faults.


“In the Christian tradition, for example, the only model for faith is Jesus of Nazareth. His proclamation, one observes in the New Testament, was not particularly religious: he spoke of God, certainly, but only in relation to ordinary human life with its quotidian struggle and suffering. Nor did he speak or preach in especially religious or secretarian terms; in fact, it maybe be said that Jesus came to set the world free from enslavement to and obsession with mere (humanly made) religion. “He went about doing good” is the biblical summary of his life and mission, and no words are more moving or provocative.”


“Joan’s claim that God had France in HIs care because France was sacred to him may not be merely a medieval trope, embarrassingly old-fashioned language that today we must expunge from our vocabularies. To claim that France is sacred does not imply that only France is sacred. Throughout history, men and women have arisen everywhere who testify to the sacredness of nations. Perhaps today more than ever, we are aware that the identity and integrity of nations are supremely significant for the human race – that the facile invasion of a sovereign state and genocide are abbhorent.

In this regard, the entire Jewish-Chrisian faith tradition is based on the belief that God once summoned ordinary people and through them worked extraordinary eeds for HIs own purpose, which is to bring all peoples to Himself. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and the prophets were but a few of thsoe called to establish and save the nation of Israel. But Israel was brought into existence and alter triumphed over its enimies not only for its own sake. This is made clear throughout the Hebrew scriptures: God saved the nation so that all nations might be emraced. Israel was to be “a light to the gentiles,” as both Old and New Testaments reiterate. God chose the ISraelites not to dominate or control but rather to serve others. The Christian Scriptures make the point more specific: the gentiles are not excluded from God’s embrace, for the light of ISrael shines on the gentiles and shows the way into that embrace. All the peoples of the world are to be brought into the capacious light of the knowledge of God’s friendship.Nowhere is it implied that Israel, or any other nation, should cease to exist.

Because no single person or roup represents what it means to be human, its the variety of people within a nation that gives it an irreplaceable character – its national personality. As with individuals, so with nations: it is the diversity of peoples that furthers the process of the world. Although many nations have tried, none may set itself up as the only or the predominant nation, forcing its culture, ideology, religion or political agenda on any other nation. For Joan of Arc, this was precisely what England was trying to do through its nobels, armies and war machinery. France deserved its identity and, as a symbol of its people, the king.”

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