Famous last words

Published in: News 24/02/2014

If they had listened to the suggestions of the so-called experts, Marilyn Monroe would have been a secretary, Elvis Presley a delivery boy, and Beethoven would not have been a composer. These are the famous last words by those who failed to recognize great talent before them. Click and listen the pronunciation of their names.

Clint Eastwood - “You have a chip on your tooth, your Adam's apple sticks out too far, and you speak too slowly”.
It was 1959. A producer for Universal Studios dismissed Clint Eastwood with these words, after an audition. And to Burt Reynolds, whom he interviewed after him, he said: "Mr Reynolds, you have no talent.”

Rudyard Kipling -  “I'm sorry Mr Kipling, but you just don't know how to use the English language”.
These were the exact words that an editor for the daily San Francisco Examiner said to Rudyard Kipling in 1889. Eight years later, in 1907, the author of The Jungle Book won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Fred Astaire -  "Can't act. Can't sing. Balding. Can dance a little".
A producer for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, who evaluated Frederick Austerlitz's first screen test for a film in 1928 had no hesitation in rejecting him. Too bad he was the future Fred Astaire.

Ronald Reagan - " He doesn’t have a presidential look ".
It was 1964 at the United Artists and they were looking for an actor to play the president of the United States in the film The Best Man. Ronald Reagan did not get that part for the reason above-mentioned. 17 years later he would become the 40th president of the United States of America.

Elvis Presley - "Stick to truck driving, because you're never going to make it as a singer".
It was 1953 and the musician and singer Eddie Bond, who was auditioning for his band, rejected the 18 year old Elvis, advising him to stick with his truck driving. Shortly after, the man who would later become "The King of Rock and Roll" recorded his first single with Sun Records.

Marilyn Monroe -  “You’d better learn secretarial work or else get married”.
That’s exactly what Emmeline Snively, former fashion model and director of the renowned Blue Book Modelling Agency, told an aspiring model, Norma Jean Baker, in 1944. Later on, Norma Jean became Marilyn Monroe.

George Orwell - "I am not sure… this is the right point of view from which to criticise the political situation at the present time".
So read the rejection letter, for the publication of an unusual work entitled Animal Farm, that George Orwell received in 1944 from T. S. Eliot, director of the publishing house Faber and Faber, at the time. Orwell did not get discouraged and, the following year, he tried with British publishers Secker & Warburg: the masterpiece was published. 

Ludwig van Beethoven - " An orgy of vulgar noise".
This was the curt judgment of the celebrated German composer Louis Spohr, in 1808, after listening to the Fifth Symphony by a then unknown Beethoven.

The Beatles - "Guitar groups are on the way out. The Beatles have no future in show business".
The year was 1962 and, after an audition, an experienced manager of Decca Records, the label of Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday, refused to sign the Fab Four to a contract.

Giuseppe Verdi – “Forget about the Conservatorio: find a teacher in the city”.
Giuseppe Verdi, the most famous Italian composer of all time, in June 1832, applied as a paying student to the Conservatorio di Milano, the renowned school of music in Milan. He was rejected because he had just turned 18, which was the maximum permitted age, and he was said to have a wrong technique in the posture of his hand. The school was later renamed Il Conservatorio di musica Giuseppe Verdi in his honour.

Back to top

Share on

Enter the difficult name to pronounce

Sign up to our newsletter

Follow us on