W. C. Fields : 1880-1946

Born William Claude Dunkenfield in Philadelphia, W. C. Fields was the eldest of five children born to Cockney immigrant, James Dunkenfield, and Philadelphia native Kate Felton.

After just four years at school, he left and went to work for his father selling vegetables from a horse cart. At 11, following many fights with his father (who hit him on the head with shovel), he left home and lived for a while in a hole in the ground; surviving on stolen food and clothing. By 13 he was a skilled pool player and juggler and was hired as an entertainer by an amusement park in Norristown Pennsylvania where he developed the technique of pretending to lose the things he was juggling.

By 19 he was billed as "The Distinguished Comedian", opening bank accounts in every city he played. At 23 he opened at The Palace in London and played with Sarah Bernhardt at Buckingham Palace. At the age of 36 he appeared in his first film and went on to make a further 36 films.

He died in Pasadena, California at the age of 66.

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it.

I only drink to steady my nerves. Sometimes I'm so steady I don't move for months.

The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.

The clever cat eats cheese and breathes down rat holes with baited breath.

I am free of all prejudices. I hate every one equally.

Women are like elephants. I like to look at 'em, but I wouldn't want to own one.

The laziest man I ever met put popcorn in his pancakes so they would turn over by themselves.

Reminds me of my safari in Africa. Somebody forgot the corkscrew and for several days we had to live on nothing but food and water.

If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull.

I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.

Don't worry about your heart, it will last you as long as you live.

Marry an outdoors woman. Then if you throw her out into the yard on a cold night, she can still survive.

Ah, the patter of little feet around the house. There's nothing like having a midget for a butler.

Children should neither be seen or heard from - ever again.

Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.

Hell, I never vote for anybody, I always vote against.

I once spent a year in Philadelphia, I think it was on a Sunday.

I never drink water; that is the stuff that rusts pipes.

I never drink water because of the disgusting things that fish do in it.

I never drink water. I'm afraid it will become habit-forming.

Well, her face was so wrinkled it looked like seven miles of bad road. She had so many gold teeth... she used to have to sleep with her head in a safe.

All the men in my family were bearded, and most of the women.

Start every day off with a smile and get it over with.

After two days in hospital, I took a turn for the nurse.

My illness is due to my doctor's insistence that I drink milk, a whitish fluid they force down helpless babies.

The advantages of whiskey over dogs are legion. Whiskey does not need to be periodically wormed, it does not need to be fed, it never requires a special kennel, it has no toenails to be clipped or coat to be stripped. Whiskey sits quietly in its special nook until you want it. True, whiskey has a nasty habit of running out, but then so does a dog.

Madam, there's no such thing as a tough child - if you parboil them first for seven hours, they always come out tender.

I am an expert of electricity. My father occupied the chair of applied electricity at the state prison.

I'd rather have two girls at 21 each than one girl at 42.

If you're a real good kid, I'll give you a piggy-back ride on a buzz-saw.

Either you're drunk or your braces are lopsided.

The first thing any comedian does on getting an unscheduled laugh is to verify the state of his buttons.

Cross my heart and hope to eat my weight in goslings.

It ain't a fit night out for man or beast.

My heart is a bargain today. Will you take it?

A man without a woman is like a neck without a pain.

I never smoked a cigar in my life until I was nine.

What this country needs is money!

Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll have another drink.