A FEW YEARS AGO, Diana Rigg was on Broadway as Celimene in Moliere’s “The Misanthrope.” When she described the character as selfish and shallow, interviewer Dick Cavett asked if she was better at playing characters she liked or disliked. She shrugged and laughed and said, politely but firmly, “I refuse to comment on my own work.”

Oh, Diana, goddess of wisdom! Had it ever before occurred to anyone in show business that it was possible to work without talking about it to an interviewer? And perhaps it took someone with Rigg’s intelligence and class to realize that though you’re asked a question, you don’t have to answer it.

It’s a lesson that few people seemed to have learned — for which Reel Life is eternally grateful. So here they are again. The people who work and like to talk about it.

But let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps they’ve all been misquoted.

“I feel I’m a great actor and I want to prove it.”

-Andrew Dice Clay, talking about a proposed drama series

“I really believe I went through the Holocaust. It was as close as a human being can get after the event to experience what it was like.”

-Jane Seymour on her role in “War and Remembrance”

“It’s “the ‘War and Peace’ of rap. There are so many aspects to it.”

-Priority Records president Bryan Turner on the Eazy-E two-album set “Temporary Insanity”

It would be “probably the most unique meeting of two people since the Pope visited his attempted assassin in jail.”

-“Hard Copy” exec producer Peter Brennan about a face-to-face meeting between Amy Fisher and Mary Jo Buttafuoco

“This is the kind of action that’s missing from television. We’re talking about exploding helicopters and screeching cars.”

-Shelly Schwab, MCA TV president, on the Universal package of 24 action telefilms

“They might take away the natural ability that he has.”

-ICM agent Jack Gilardi, explaining why Jean-Claude van Damme won’t be taking any acting lessons

“I think that Jean-Claude will eventually do the Tom Cruise roles.”

-Gilardi on van Damme

“People told me that it was a catharsis for them to laugh at some of these things in ‘Hexed.’ And somebody told me I was actually making a Tibetan kind of Hindu thing, where you’re supposed to mock what is sacred.”

-Writer-director Alan Spencer on his film “Hexed”

“These films give people great confidence. The first one was shown at the worst part of the Gulf war, and I really thought (the) characters offered people comfort.”

-Glenn Close on “Sarah, Plain and Tall” and “Skylark”

“It is, like, a cultural event.”

-Spike Lee on “Malcolm X”

“Sam (Kinison) was a healer, a comedy innovator, a brilliance … To hear his tirades (on such topics as Christ’s last words, and the evils of women and gays) in the Main Room on his special nights were moments in comedy that will never be repeated.”

-Comedy Store owner Mitzi Shore

“We want to be able to talk about shocking things, to be cutting edge, to be clever … But we’re also trying to make (listeners) feel good about themselves and raise their self-esteem.”

-Deejay Rick Dees on his radio show

“I’d fly directly to Tim Burton’s house and completely demolish it … Then I would rush over to (former WB senior exec) Mark Canton’s office and hold him at gunpoint until (he) … hid under the desk and begged for forgiveness … And then I would probably leave him tied up, hanging from the ceiling … Then I’d visit (Michael Keaton) and make him apologize for causing my horse accident on the first ‘Batman.’ … Then I’d take Burton, Canton and (Keaton) and lock them up in a room and let them argue … to figure out whose fault it was that they didn’t make the right decision regarding me in ‘Batman Returns.’ Then I’d visit Warren Beatty. I’d strip him down, tie him spread-eagle to the bed and walk away. (Laughs) Then I’d see (James Woods’ ex-wife) Sarah Owen and I’d make her apologize to me for being a lying bitch. Then I’d tie her up, take her over to James Woods’ house and tie them up together … then hang them over a vat of oil … These people should pay for their wicked behavior. I would also visit Barbra Streisand, Meryl Streep, Whoopi Goldberg, Geena Davis, Julia Roberts and Madonna , because I really like them. It would be to say hi and to show them I’m not a monster. Everybody’s convinced I’m a monster.”

-Sean Young, answering Playboy’s question “If you had one day to be bad, without consequence, what would you do?”

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