Think “glamour” and it’s hard not to conjure up Hollywood’s golden age of film, which began in the 1930s and stretched into the early ’60s. Polished black-and-white reels and their glittering stars loomed large in the American imagination. Movies gave us some of the best-loved performances of the last century — from Audrey Hepburn’s innocent ingénue in 1954’s Sabrina to Katharine Hepburn’s fiery wit in 1940’s The Philadelphia Story.
The actresses who vaulted to fame during this time remain some of the most well known in the world, for both their on-screen roles and their larger-than-life personalities. Marilyn Monroe’s classic beauty and doe-eyed performances gained her global adoration, while strong-willed Bette Davis carved an unconventional path as a stage performer who took on the silver screen.
These women navigated careers full of scrutiny and roller-coaster twists, as well as personal struggles including loss and addiction. Behind the glitz and glamour is the kind of wisdom and insight gained from adversity, hard work, and the experience of life lived to the fullest. Here, we’ve gathered wisdom from some of classic Hollywood’s most brilliant female stars.
People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. Never throw out anyone.Audrey Hepburn
For life: It is rather a determination not to be overwhelmed. For work: The truth can only be recalled, never invented.Marilyn Monroe
I would rather have a go at something I feel, and be hurt, than always be protecting myself — that way one does not really live.Bette Davis
Whatever happens to you, you have to keep a slightly comic attitude. In the final analysis, you have got not to forget to laugh.Katharine Hepburn
I think your whole life shows in your face, and you should be proud of that.Lauren Bacall
Always be a first- rate version of yourself and not a second- rate version of someone else.Judy Garland
Never say never. Never is a long, undependable time, and life is too full of rich possibilities to have restrictions placed upon it.Gloria Swanson
Get involved. That’s the secret of life. Try everything. Join everything. Meet everybody.Hedy Lamarr
You don’t have to be married to have a good friend as your partner for life.Greta Garbo
The only way to enjoy anything in this life is to earn it first.Ginger Rogers
There is a fountain of youth: It is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love.Sophia Loren
Photo credit: Silver Screen Collection/ Moviepix via Getty Images