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generally I get a good feeling when I come home at night and realize that during the day I've talked to a bunch of strangers.

The interesting thing is that very often these strangers are more sympathetic about "my disaster" than acquaintances. Maybe that is because so many of my acquaintances are actors like me. They've been around as long as I have and suddenly my success seems to magnify their own feelings of failure. "What are you doing now? Got another job, huh?" When they ask there is always that edge of anger. It makes me want to say "I'm planning to quit and go into medicine."

This is a very celebrity-conscious society and one that endows stars with strange powers. I've found lately, for example, that if I'm seated next to somebody I don't know at a dinner party, they won't talk to me for about ten minutes. They just soft of feel me out until they are satisfied that I'm not really threatening, that I'm not bigger than they are, or better. Sometimes people who stop me on the street to ask for an autograph will say, "You're just a person." I want to answer them, "Well, what did you think I was?" I guess that's the reason there are stars. They are substitutes for something people seem to need.

Personally, I've never been affected that way by anybody in the films or theatre -- possibly because I lived in Los Angeles, where I frequently used to see movie stars around. But once, just after I came to New York, I was working at the Longacre Theatre checking coats and Eleanor Roosevelt came in. I remember she had white hair, a white coat all the way down to her ankles. As I looked at her I felt just as if I was going to be bowled over by the light. She had such an aura about her, I don't think I've ever been so consumed by the

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presence of somebody.

I'm sure Mrs. Roosevelt deserved it, but I feel guilty about my fame--my notoriety. After all, why should I get more press coverage than Christiaan Barnard. The truth is that if I died tomorrow all that could be said of me is that I appeared in a couple of Off-Broadway plays, one film (two now, counting my new one, Midnight Cowboy) and that I was scheduled to appear on Broadway in Jimmy Shine. Sometimes I envision my obituary. I'd like it to say, "Died in his 90s." (I've always wanted to grow very old.) "Started out to be an actor, went on to be a director and wound up doing... something else." And I'd want that something else to be something really useful -- something benefiting mankind.

I don't know if psychiatrists agree, but I feel sure that the film, more than any other single thing, has damaged America. My parents and their generation escaped the depression by sitting in movie theatres and allowing themselves to be hypnotized by those images on that great big screen. Many of those movies were about furs and Cadillacs and swimming pools. So it was no wonder they believed that, if they ever broke out of the bread lines, that's where the good life was. Now it's the kids who are forming the backlash. They've had the advantage of all that affluence and they are reacting against it. 

In this country what is considered important is what you accomplish outside your skin. No matter how valuable the work you do might be, our society judges it on the basis of how much money you make doing it. If you make a million dollars in real estate, you're more important than, say, a doctor or dentist. I remember when I was taking acting classes and making

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She pledges her love silently, with a touch of scent and a sip of sacred wine.

To that silent love .

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