Clifford Odets

American playwright, screenwriter, and actor (1906–1963)

Clifford Odets (July 18, 1906August 14, 1963) was an American playwright, director, screenwriter, and actor. His plays include Waiting for Lefty, Awake and Sing! and Golden Boy.

Clifford Odets in 1938


  • I believe in the vast potentialities of mankind. But I see everywhere a wide disparity between what they can be and what they are. That is what I want to say in writing. I want to say the genius of the human race is mongrelized; I want to find out how mankind can be helped out of the animal kingdom into the clear sweet air.
    • Letter to John Mason Brown, 1935; cited from Margaret Brenman-Gibson Clifford Odets, American Playwright: The Years from 1906 to 1940 (New York: Atheneum, 1981) p. 337.
  • Boychick, wake up! Be something! Make your life something good. For the love of an old man who sees in your young days his new life, for such love take the world in your two hands and make it like new. Go out and fight so life shouldn't be printed on dollar bills.
    • Jacob, in Awake and Sing! (1935), Act I
  • Music is the great cheer-up in the language of all countries.
    • Mr. Bonaparte, in Golden Boy (1937), Act I, sc. ii
  • is lonely, life is empty. Love isn't everything. A dear true friend is more than love--the serge outlasts the silk.
    • Mr. Prince, in Rocket To The Moon" (1938), Act III
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