Quotes by Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker Biography

Dorothy Parker 1893 – 1967

Known for her acerbic wit, writing in popular magazines such as Vanity Fair as a theatre critic and staff writer as well as a caustic book reviewer. She also wrote short, viciously humorous, self-deprecating poems for Vanity Fair, the New Yorker and Vogue. She was a founder of the Algonquin Round Table, a luncheon club of fellow New York wits of which she later said “it was the terrible day of the wisecrack, so there didn’t have to be any truth in it”.

The first volume of her poetry, ‘Enough Rope’, in 1926 , sold well and was impressively reviewed, though labelled as ‘flapper verse’. Other poetry books followed together with collections of short stories.
She had been born Dorothy Rothschild in New Jersey and joked that she married stockbroker Edwin Parker to escape her Jewish name. She had numerous affairs, but eventually began a tempestuous relationship with an ambitious screenwriter, Alan Campbell, with whom she wrote numerous film scripts in Hollywood. During the 1930’s and 40’s, she became increasingly vocal in her support of civil liberties and rights and moved towards active support for Communist causes such as the Spanish Civil War as well as raising funds for the “Hollywood anti-Nazi league”, a front for Communist sympathisers. By the 1950’s, her on/ off relationship with Campbell and increasingly heavy drinking marred her working ability and on his death from drugs, she moved back to New York where she died in 1967. She left her entire estate to Dr Martin Luther King.

  • Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.

    Attractiveness/ Attraction

  • Guns aren’t lawful, nooses give, gas smells awful. You might as well live.


  • He’s a writer for the ages – for the ages of four to eight.


  • Writing is the art of applying the ass to the seat.


  • That woman speaks eighteen languages and can’t say no in any of them.


  • Wit has truth in it. Wise-cracking is simply calisthenics with words.


  • It is our national joy to mistake for the first rate, the fecund rate.


  • ‘House Beautiful’ is the play lousy.


  • In fact now that you have got me right down to it, the only thing I didn’t like about the ‘Barretts of Wimpole Street’ was the play.


  • Four be the things I’d be better without,
    Love, curiosity, freckles and doubt .

    Self Criticism

  • Why is it no-one ever sent me yet
    One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
    Ah no it’s always just my luck to get
    One perfect rose.


  • Four things I’d be better without; love, curiosity, freckles and doubt.


  • The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.


  • If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.


  • The two most beautiful words in the English language are ‘cheque enclosed’.


  • You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.


  • What’s new?


  • By the time you swear you’re his,
    Shivering and sighing,
    And he vows his passion is,
    Infinite undying,
    Lady make a note of this,
    One of you is lying.


  • And there was that wholesale libel on a Yale Prom. If all the girls attending it were laid end to end, Mrs Parker said she wouldn’t be at all surprised.


  • Because he spills his seed on the ground.
    [on being asked why she named her Canary ‘Onan ‘]


  • Whose love is given over well, shall look on Helen’s face in hell,
    Whilst those whose love is thin and wise, shall see John Knox in paradise.