Quotes by Ethel Waters

I never was a child.
- Ethel Waters
I am an isolationist.
- Ethel Waters
We are all gifted. That is our inheritance.
- Ethel Waters
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There's no hypocrisy in Hell's Kitchen.
- Ethel Waters
I never felt I belonged. I was always an outsider.
- Ethel Waters
I have reason to be shy. I've been hurt plenty.
- Ethel Waters
Today or any day that phone may ring and bring good news.
- Ethel Waters
I never was coddled, or liked, or understood by my family.
- Ethel Waters
All my life I've been prejudiced against wealthy people.
- Ethel Waters
No one in the world can beat Ella Fitzgerald as a riff singer.
- Ethel Waters
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There is a great supply of amateur undertakers in show business.
- Ethel Waters
All the men in my life have been two things: an epic and an epidemic.
- Ethel Waters
I cannot help feeling I would have been happier with a husband and chidren of my own.
- Ethel Waters
My whole family could sing. My family harmonized without any instruments to accompany them.
- Ethel Waters
There was one emotional outlet my people always had when they had the blues. That was singing.
- Ethel Waters
It has been an ache and a joy both to look over this big shoulder of mine at all my yesterdays.
- Ethel Waters
Negroes are human beings with exactly the same faults and virtues as members of the other races.
- Ethel Waters
New York is only 97 miles from Philadelphia but was the Big Time as no other American city has ever been.
- Ethel Waters
We never had a bathtub. Mom would bathe me in the wooden or tin washtub in the kitchen, or in a big lard can.
- Ethel Waters
Nothing can beat the smell of dew and flowers and the odor that comes out of the earth when the sun goes down.
- Ethel Waters
I never accepted the idea that I was all through. I guess no person who has once been a star can do that, ever.
- Ethel Waters
I want affection and tenderness desperately, but there's something in me that prevents me from handing it out.
- Ethel Waters
Elia Kazan understood my problems. He was able to bring out the very best in me. He gave me credit for my intelligence.
- Ethel Waters
I've never been able to feel that there is anything undignified about making your living by the sweat of your brow.
- Ethel Waters
Somehow, the things my mother wanted to do, the release in evangelism she sought with such frenzy, were transferred to me.
- Ethel Waters
Asking what I considered an impossible salary when I didn't want to work for someone has boosted my pay again and again.
- Ethel Waters
Mom was the greatest influence of my childhood. She wanted to save me from the vice, lust, and drinking that was all about me.
- Ethel Waters
When you dominate other people's emotions, the time has to come when you will have to pay, and heavily, for that privilege.
- Ethel Waters
You are a person of the greatest importance when you are a mother of a family. Just do your job right and your kids will love you.
- Ethel Waters
Whenever I played Columbus, Ohio, I dropped in to see my close friend, a medium who had mysterious powers. Her Indian guide was Mohawk.
- Ethel Waters
I have no acting technique I act instinctively. That's why I can't play any role that isn't based on something in my life.
- Ethel Waters
Basically there is no difference between whites and blacks, browns and yellows. I decided to think no more of people as Northerners and Southerners.
- Ethel Waters
Though I was excited about the Sojourner Truth play, it was not reassuring to think that my entire future might depend on the success of that one show.
- Ethel Waters
I wanted to be with the kind of people I'd grown up with, but you can't go back to them and be one of them again, no matter how hard you try.
- Ethel Waters
The white audiences thought I was white, my features being what they are, and at every performance I'd have to take off my gloves to prove I was a spade.
- Ethel Waters
Mom never quit on me. My only regret is that she didn't live long enough to share some of the money and comforts my work in show business has brought me.
- Ethel Waters
In her whole life Mom never earned more than five or six dollars a week. Being without a husband, it was hard for her to find any place at all for us to live.
- Ethel Waters
I had always loved John Ford's pictures. And I came to love him, too, but I was frightened to death working for him. He used the shock treatment while directing me.
- Ethel Waters
After years in white theaters I dreaded working in colored houses. The noise, the stomping, whistling, and cheering that hadn't annoyed me when I was young was now something I dreaded.
- Ethel Waters
The big compliment came from the beer drinkers who didn't know me. They wouldn't drink or move when I sang. If they had their glasses in mid-air, the glasses wouldn't come down.
- Ethel Waters