Marian Seldes: Wonder in the World


We don’t have enough time to criticize or envy others. There is so much wonder in the world, so many people doing or trying to do wonderful things. There will never be enough time to show up for them, to support them, so I can’t waste a moment worrying or complaining of how things might be or should have been. They are what they are, and we can make it wonderful.

From a conversation in 2005


Marian Seldes: So Much Love

THAT LADY, Katharine Cornell, holding Marian Seldes, Martin Beck Theatre, New York, 1949-50

Marian Seldes with Katharine Cornell in That Lady, at the Martin Beck Theatre, 1949.

I was shown so much love so often that I never thought of the theatre as cruel or tough. I know it must be: It has to be, I guess. I never look for that, and I’ve escaped it. I was cared for so much by Katharine Cornell, and she has been my example: I look for people who need to be cared for, guided, applauded. So many people need to be seen and encouraged, reminded of what they have and what they can do. I’m weakest when I’m not caring for someone, fighting for something to be seen and survive.

From a conversation in 2001

Marian Seldes: Giving, Sharing, Needing


It is not selfless at all when I help anyone: It is a gift. You think I give you so much, but you have given me just as much. You required me to be stronger and bigger in those times when you needed me, and I did what I could, and you were there when I needed to see if I mattered or could be of help. And you gave so much to me. So many people give to me. Giving, sharing, needing–these are all gifts.

From a conversation in 1999

Marian Seldes: Your Mental Climate


Your mental climate, for lack of a better word, is your reality. Your basic reality. It’s your creation, your responsibility, and you have to maintain it. No one can interfere with how you believe in or react to people and things. Let them make fun of you: They’ve been making fun of me for years for being, as they say, out of touch. I don’t approve of must things that are in touch.

From a conversation in 1990

Marian Seldes: Death Ends Nothing


People and things that you love never die. They don’t. We can’t let them. Everyone and everything I ever loved is still with me every day. You have to do the same. You have to honor them with your memory and with your words. Tell the stories. Remind people of other people. Share everything. Prove to people that death ends nothing.

From a conversation in 1999

Marian Seldes on Frances Sternhagen

INDEPENDENCE DAY, Frances Sternhagen, 1983, (c) Warner Brothers/courtesy Everett Collection

Frances Sternhagen in the 1983 film Independence Day.


Every time I see her, I feel hope again, because she radiates it, invites it, expects it. I have never known her to be defeated, and she is impatient when others are not being helped or uplifted. She is–and this will sound silly and simple–a legitimately good person, soulful, aware. Hope is an illusive, invisible, transient thing, but Frannie is real, present, and a reminder that it exists.

From a conversation in 2004

Marian Seldes: The Dream

DEAR LIAR, Marian Seldes, Irish Repertory Theater, New York, 1999

Marian Seldes in Dear Liar at the Irish Rep in 1999.

The dream is important. The dream for whatever you want or need is important–it’s fuel for the work you’ll need to do. But a day–many days–arrive when you need to stop dreaming and you throw yourself into work with people who apply the beauty of the dreams to the hard work at hand. To be lost always in the dream state is a sort of death, a stillbirth. The dreams make a nest, and you need to leave it. You take the memory and the lessons of the dream, but you don’t go back to the nest.

From a conversation in 2000