Anthony Perkins


“I chose not to go public about this because, to misquote Casablanca, ‘I’m not too much at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of one old actor don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy old world.’

There are many who believe that this disease is God’s vengeance, but I believe it was sent to teach people how to love and understand and have compassion for each other. I have learned more about love, selflessness and human understanding from the people I have met in this great adventure in the world of AIDS than I ever did in the cutthroat, competitive world in which I spent my life.”

Anthony Perkins, in a statement released after his death from AIDS in 1992

Anthony Perkins

Anthony Perkins

“My great problem is that I’ve always felt -and especially since I’ve become a so-called personality, a celebrity, & so forth -that it was all a very exposable myth that I was somebody. I’ve felt that this was an absurd dishonesty and that if I were close to people, it would be instantly evident & they would say, ‘Well, gee, he’s nothing at all. What do we want to see him for?’ If I can talk to someone for just five minutes, five vital minutes, I feel I can carry on the myth of being a full person, but any longer and I would be shown up as an empty, worthless nothing… all colorless and shrinking, invisible.

Ironically, I spent a couple of years playing parts in which I was supposed to be a decisive person, but all the while I was in a torment over this feeling of being a total cipher. It just about paralyzed me.”

Anthony Perkins, in 1960 Sat. Evening Post interview (quoted in Charles Winecoff’s Split Image) (photo by Sam Levin, 1963)