Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Interview

Q. Mr. Fairbanks, it must be very difficult to live your life in the shadow of a very famous father. How do you cope with that? You tell people your name, and they immediately want to talk about your father. Did you ever think of entering another field?
A. The confusion of having the same name as my father was only evident in the early part of my career, begun in 1923. Later, people made the distinction easily. Then, in the early 30's my father retired. Further­more, our films were quite different, and our personalities even more so. I had thought of writing more than I do, and painting, but I had too many obligations to follow through.

Q. It was reported that Jack Nicholson was paid over $50 million dollars for his role as the Joker in "Batman". Did you ever in your wildest dreams think an actor would be paid that kind of money?
A. Don't believe it.

Q. Is one man worth that kind of money?
A. Yes, if the public is prepared to spend that much at the box office. Who else should get it? The pro­ducer? Writer? Director? They all get a good deal.

Q. What was the advantage of being signed to a long term studio contract for an actor or actress?
A. Security! The near certainty of steady employment for a period of time.

Q. You remember Hollywood when it was really glamorous and bigger than life. Today, the city has a sleazy reputation. Is there anything that could be done to turn the city around and return it to it's hey-day?
A. I don't believe it ever was all that glamorous. Most of it, possibly all of it, was stimulated by press and publicity departments. In fact, what and where was Hollywood? Movies were made all over California, New York, and elsewhere.

Q. What was your favorite film?
A. Several. "GungaDin." "The Ex­ile," "The Fighting O' Flynn," "Out­ward Bound," "The Prisoner of Zenda," "The Corsican Brothers."

Q. Was there an actor or actress that you especially liked working with?
A. Not really. I got along with ev­eryone pretty well. I did enjoy work­ing with Katherine Hepburn very much.

Q. Isn't acting something that would be considered a God-given gift?
A. That's personality. Acting can be learned like singing or playing an instrument. But talents like Noel Coward, the Lunt’s, the Barrymore’s, Garbo, are natural. And then, refined, and tuned.

Q. You've been involved in so many different aspects of show busi­ness and received so many awards, what has given you the greatest personal satisfaction? What are you proudest of?
A. Surviving!

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