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Ivor Novello Quotes


Ivor Novello
  • Mini Bio
  • Name: Ivor Novello
  • Born: 15th January 1893, Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales
  • Died: 6th March 1951, London, England
  • Resting place: Golders Green Crematorium, London
  • Birth Name: David Ivor Davies
  • Alma mater: Magdalen College School, Oxford
  • Occupation: Actor, composer and playwright
  • Years active: 1914 - 1951
  • Height: 5' 11" (1.81 m)
  • Trivia: The Ivor Novello Awards were created in his honour in 1955 by the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters to recognise and reward outstanding contributions to British music
  • Scroll down for full bio and many great quotes

"Actors who are lovers in real life are often incapable if playing the part of lovers to an audience. It is equally true that sympathy between actors who are not lovers may create a temporary emotion that is perfectly sincere"

Ivor Novello

"Your own mind is so unblurred and you've used it like a painter's series of brushes, all sizes, yet each stroke different" [about Noel Coward]

Ivor Novello

"The inconvenience, the glaring lights, the long hours of waiting, and the repetition of every scene are all calculated to defeat anything more than a real mastery of love technique"

Ivor Novello

"We were asked to believe that the variety and the novelty of even the crude films of the early days would provide a means of entertainment which would cut out the stage"

Ivor Novello

"A visit to a cinema is a little outing in itself. It breaks the monotony of an afternoon or evening it gives a change from the surroundings of home, however pleasant"

Ivor Novello

"I have come to regard Wagner as my patron saint. Much of what I consider my best screen acting has been achieved under the influence of the Fire Music from Die Valkyrie"

Ivor Novello

"I was told there were at least 5,000 picture houses in America whose audience had never heard an Englishman speak. English was like a foreign language to them"

Ivor Novello

"The average person is gregarious; there is something in the spirit of the crowd that adds to the enjoyment of entertainment"

Ivor Novello

"Behind the footlights there is always the applause, which stimulates the actors. On the screen it is a different matter"

Ivor Novello

"The beautiful heroine might be thinking, How long must I bury my face in this wretched man's shoulder?"

Ivor Novello

"I had acquired a complete confidence in myself when facing a battery of cameras in a studio"

Ivor Novello

"I came away knowing that obscurity and I were bad companions" [about his stint at MGM]

Ivor Novello

"Things which do not require effort of some sort are seldom worth having"

Ivor Novello

"You cannot isolate yourself from the crowd - even if you want to"

Ivor Novello

"Every blessed one of you feels better for that burst of laughter"

Ivor Novello

"I began my career with infantile dreams of becoming a composer"

Ivor Novello

"Someone said I was too English. This quite staggered me"

Ivor Novello

"There are very few misanthropes, thank goodness"

Ivor Novello

"There's something Vichy about the French"

Ivor Novello

"I fancied myself in a kilt"

Ivor Novello

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Ivor Novello Biography

Ivor Novella who was once described as "Britain's most handsome man", was the darling of the silent screen and England's first multi talented superstar of the twentieth century whose initial fame came as a composer before successfully transitioning to movies and the stage.

He was a child prodigy whose talent earned a scholarship to Magdalen College School in Oxford where he honed his soprano voice and started writing songs in anticipation of his planned career in music.



Novella's first big success was writing the music for the patriotic 1914 hit "Keep the Home Fires Burning" that become the most popular song of the decade ravaged by the horrors of thousands of the country's sons not returning home to their loved ones.

Novella continued his work as a composer but this was the dawn of the silent era of cinema and his handsome good looks saw him become the biggest matinee idol of the 1920's. He was billed as Britain's answer to Rudolph Valentino and Novello filled cinema's during the roaring twenties starring in movies including two early Alfred Hitchcock thrillers "The Lodger" and "Downhill" both in 1927.

Ivor Novella who was a star of the silent era of movies failed to make an impact in talking pictures, his last movie was "Autumn Crocus" in 1934 and after this he retired from the silver screen to concentrate on stage productions.

His real love was live performance and he went on to create romantic musicals that the public adored with "Glamorous Night" (1935), "The Dancing Years" (1939), "Perchance to Dream" (1945) and "King’s Rhapsody" (1949) all playing to packed houses.

He was one of the founders of The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors in 1947 which was to honour the great composer by creating The Ivor Novello Awards in 1955. In 2009 the organisation changed its convoluted name to The Ivors Academy making it more concise and expressive in line with 21st century brevity.

Ivor Novello had a remarkable stage presence with his raven dark hair and expressive face, but he was more than the handsome hunk who the ladies drooled over as his belief in the arts reflected his charming modesty and romantic vision which he played out on stage with a touch of class that oozed of sentimentality and glamour. Through the Ivors Academy his name will live on forever as will many of his memorable and thoughtful words which helped me compile this list of 20 of the best Ivor Novella quotes.

Quotes About Ivor Novello

Simon Cowell described him thus: "Novello was more than just a composer, he was a star in his own right. He starred in his own musicals, and he was an immense star of stage and screen, with that perfect profile you just don’t see any more"

The actor Noel Coward was impressed to say: "Theatre – good, bad and indifferent – is the love of his life. For him, other human endeavours are mere shadows. ... The reward of his work lies in the indisputable fact that whenever and wherever he appears the vast majority of the British public flock to see him"

Noel Coward also gave this witty comparison: "The two most beautiful things in the world are Ivor's profile and my mind"

The thespian John Gielgud quipped: "I'm sure there isn't an after-life. If there were, Ivor Novello would have got a message to us"

The producer Michael Balcon shared this observation: "He was such an enchanting character: no side at all, none of the star nonsense, eager to learn and charming to the people he worked with"

The cameraman Hal Young saw his photogenic side: "It's a pleasure to photograph him because he takes well from any angle"


Ivor Novello Quote