Michael Winner: A life in quotes


Film director and food critic Michael Winner died today aged 77. Here is a selection of his most memorable quotes:

On the UK above Watford: "The north is not a place I frequently go to, it is an alien country, it is another land, but it is beautiful. The people are very nice but they provide food that is absolutely pathetic and they are incapable of cooking. So where I am going does not totally thrill me."

On directing: "A team effort is a lot of people doing what I say."

Describing the Victorian mansion he has bequeathed to the nation: "It was once the home of a Victorian artist called Sir Luke Fildes, and was built a well-known domestic architect, Richard Norman Shaw. Where Fildes's studio was is now my bedroom. Edward VII called it one of the finest rooms in London. The house is already on tours of London's most important Victorian buildings - I often see 20 or 30 people outside, with someone talking, probably a load of drivel, outside the front gates."

On the likeness between men and dogs: "I think it's rather an insult to dogs. Men are awful: arrogant, nasty creatures."

On being a bachelor: "I've had 130 lovers so I've had a good run. Geraldine makes up for all of them."

On his soon-to-be-wife  Geraldine in 2007: "I'm not sure when we will get married. I acquired a fiancee. I said, "Geraldine, darling, it's taken me 71 years to get a fiancee - so don't hold your breath for the wedding!"

Esure car insurance advert: "Calm down, dear! It's a commercial."

On David Cameron's 'Calm down, dear' remark to MP Angela Eagle: "If Labour can't realise when something is a bit of fun, they really should pack up and go home. To call someone 'dear' is not sexist unless to politically correct lunatics."

On himself: "During the Sixties, the Americans thought I was the greatest thing in the history of cinema."

Also on himself: "I do not lurk. I ponce about, cause trouble, bring light and happiness to the world and generally behave with impeccable (if misplaced) self-assurance."

On eating: "Success has gone to my stomach".

Filming: "The hardest part of directing is staying awake for nine weeks at a stretch."

On the Queen's honours list: "An OBE is what you get if you clean the toilets well at King's Cross station. I really don't care if I get anything or not. I'm very glad that they recognize my considerable skills as a toilet cleaner. But when you look at the rubbish who are getting these awards and the absolute non-service they have given to the nation other than financing or working for political parties, you say, 'What company am I in?' At least if you go straight to the House of Lords you can wear fancy dress and have a giggle."

On art: "If you want art, don't mess about with movies. Buy a Picasso."

On children: "Children should not be allowed to go on holiday. They scream, they shout, they yell. All children should be locked up until the age of 10 and only selected ones should be let out when they are 10."

On a Christmas card photo of himself with the Queen: "A little vulgarity is a thoroughly good thing."

On the right to die: "People should have the right to terminate their own life. I am very happy to snuff it. I've had enough time on earth. I'd be happy if someone gave me the plug to pull."

Quotes from others about Michael Winner:

Michael Caine:  “I am here to tell everybody, Michael, you are a complete and utter fraud. You come on like this bombastic, ill-tempered monster. It’s not the side of you I see. I see a man who has a tremendous artistic eye. You have an incredible legal brain. Before I even go to my own lawyer I talk to you first. You’re extremely funny, very sensitive, very kind and very generous. I hope everyone believes me when I say that you are a kind and wonderful person. And I’m not kidding.”

John Cleese: "He was the dearest, kindest, funniest and most generous of friends. I shall miss him terribly."

Piers Morgan: "Very sad to hear Michael Winner has died. Hilarious, often proposterous, always generous, highly intelligent man. And terrific writer. RIP."

Andrew Lloyd Webber: "True originals come rarely in a lifetime. Madeleine and I will deeply miss you. ALW"

Terry O'Neill: "He was totally against marriage but we all talked him into it and thank goodness we did.