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Fame grows like a tree if it have the principle of growth in it; the accumulated dews of ages freshen its leaves.


Fame lightens labour.


Fame is a form, perhaps the worst form, of incomprehension.


Posthumous fame is a plant of tardy growth, for our body must be the seed of it; or we may liken it to a torch, which nothing but the last spark of life can light up; or we may compare it to the trumpet of the archangel, for it is blown over the dead; but unlike that awful blast, it is of earth not of heaven, and can neither rouse nor raise us.


Fame is the inheritance not of the dead, but of the living. It is we who look back with lofty pride to the great names of antiquity, who drink of that flood of glory as of a river, and refresh our wings in it for future flight.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

What is Fortune, what is Fame?
Futile gold and phantom name--
Riches buried in a cave,
Glory written on a grave.

HENRY VAN DYKE, "The Talisman"

Fame and secrecy are the high and low ends of the same fascination.

DON DELILLO, Underworld

I have way too many commitments. I get pulled in too many directions and I never seem to be able to satisfy anybody. People get turned on by knowing a celebrity, even my friends and family. They feel that there's something exciting about me, but in reality there's no substance to it. People in airports just hold on to me expecting something and it seems that I always come up empty. It's frustrating because I’m trying to please everybody, and ya just can’t do that ... at least I can’t.

TIM ALLEN, Laugh Factory Magazine, 1994

Fame is a bright flower, but weeds abound mostly around it.


Greatness is a transitory experience. It is never consistent. It depends in part upon the myth-making imagination of humankind. The person who experiences greatness must have a feeling for the myth he is in. He must reflect what is projected upon him.


The more well-known you are, you become a target.

CALVIN KLEIN, Larry King Live, Jun. 5, 2000

If fame goes by, so long, I've had you, fame. If it goes by, I've always known it was fickle. So at least it's something I experienced, but that's not where I live.

MARILYN MONROE, interview with Richard Meryman, Life Magazine, Aug. 3, 1962

Of present fame think little, and of future less. The praises that we receive after we are buried, like the posies that are strewn over our graves, may be gratifying to the living, but they are nothing to the dead; the dead are gone, either to a place where they hear them not, or where, if they do, they will despise them.


Happy is the man who hath never known what it is to taste of fame — to have it is a purgatory, to want it is a hell.

EDWARD BULWER LYTTON, Last of the Barons

Notoriety wasn't as good as fame, but was heaps better than obscurity.


Fame: A few words upon a tombstone, and the truth of those not to be depended on.

CHRISTIAN NESTELL BOVEE, Intuitions and Summaries of Thought

Ah, fortune and fame shall follow me ... and I shall dwell in the world of the chosen for a few moments of fleeting ecstasy; ere the seven burly lads turn into creditors and hustle me off to debtors' prison at last.

HUNTER S. THOMPSON, The Proud Highway

Fame then was cheap, and the first comer sped;
And they have kept it since by being dead.

JOHN DRYDEN, The Conquest of Granada

When you're famous you kind of run into human nature in a raw kind of way. It stirs up envy, fame does. People you run into feel that, well, who does she think she is, Marilyn Monroe? They feel fame gives them some kind of privilege to walk up to you and say anything to you, of any kind of nature — and it won't hurt your feelings — like it's happening to your clothes not you.

MARILYN MONROE, attributed, Marilyn Monroe: A Life of the Actress (Rollyson)

To me, fame is the important thing.
I'd give up all I owned for it.
What good is a voice like Orpheus'
If no one knows it belongs to you?


There have been as great Souls unknown to fame as any of the most famous.

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1734

Fame is a four-letter word; and like tape or zoom or face or pain or life or love, what ultimately matters is what we do with it.

FRED ROGERS, speech at his induction into the Television Hall of Fame, Feb. 1999

If you are someone, you know, with fame, whatever amount, it's good to be married to someone who's not impressed with that at all.

RAY ROMANO, The Ellen Show

Were not this desire of fame very strong, the difficulty of obtaining it, and the danger of losing it when obtained, would be sufficient to deter a man from so vain a pursuit.

JOSEPH ADDISON, The Spectator, Dec. 22, 1711

A celebrity is a person who works hard all his life to be well-known, then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognized.

FRED ALLEN, Treadmill to Oblivion

I cannot believe that any man who deserved fame ever labored for it; that is, directly. For, as fame is but the contingent of excellence, it would be like an attempt to project a shadow, before its substance was obtained.

WASHINGTON ALLSTON, Lectures on Art and Poems

I think that's the thing about fame or any notoriety. It's an illusion that you don't have to play by the rules anymore, the rules of life.

TOM WAITS, "Strange Innocence", Vanity Fair, July 2001

Fame for fame's sake is a completely empty experience. Fame should be a by-product (and not necessarily a good one) of achieving something extraordinary.

RITA RUDNER, I Still Have It ... I Just Can't Remember Where I Put It

For however I may in former days as a young man have liked the notice which the being in a great man's train secures one, now that I have a fixed character of my own, obscurity is far the most agreeable.


Since the days of old, the wise and the good
Have been left alone in their solitude,
While merry drinkers have achieved enviable fame.

LI BAI, "An Exhortation"

There is no business in this world so troublesome as the pursuit of fame: life is over before you have hardly begun your work.

JEAN DE LA BRUYÈRE, "Of Personal Merit", Les Caractères

Thou wishest fame! ambition in thy soul
Bids thee toil onward to the distant goal,
And holds the dazzling prize before the view,
Fought for by many; gained by ah, how few!

MARY T. LATHRAP, "To One Who Wishes Fame"

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