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"A diplomat these days is nothing but a head waiter who's allowed to sit down occasionally"


"...the great thing about history is that it is adaptable."


"Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious."


"Two members of my profession who are not urgently needed by my profession, Mr. Ronald Reagan and Mr. George Murphy, entered politics, and they've done extremely well. Since there has been no reciprocal tendency in the other direction, it suggests to me that our job is still more difficult than their new one."


On critics: "They search for ages for the wrong word, which, to give them credit, they eventually find."


"The habit of religion is oppressive, an easy way out of thought."


"Beliefs are what divide people. Doubt unites them."


"I was irrevocably betrothed to laughter, the sound of which has always seemed to me to be the most civilized music in the world."


'When Rosalind Hicks, Agatha Christie's daughter, first saw me, she said, 'That's not Poirot.' I said, 'It is now, my dear.'" (regarding his portrayal of supersleuth Hercule Poirot)


"Terrorism is the war of the poor, and war is the terrorism of the rich." - On the Iraq war in 2003


People who reach the top of the tree are only those who haven't got the qualifications to detain them at the bottom.


Contrary to general belief, I do not believe that friends are necessarily the people you like best, they are merely the people who got there first.


It is our responsibilities, not ourselves, that we should take seriously.


I believe that the Jews have made a contribution to the human condition out of all proportion to their numbers: I believe them to be an immense people. Not only have they supplied the world with two leaders of the stature of Jesus Christ and Karl Marx, but they have even indulged in the luxury of following neither one nor the other.


The point of living and of being an optimist, is to be foolish enough to believe the best is yet to come.


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