Robert Stack Quotes

Movie titles are in italics and TV shows are in quotation marks. Except where noted, all movie and TV quotes are from The Internet Movie Database's entries for each movie.

Quotes on Robert Stack

Tribute from NBC
NBC is the television studio that carried "Unsolved Mysteries" from 1987 to 1997. Please note this ad was scanned at very low resolution, giving it a low quality apperance and the actual ad is in much better quality. If anyone has a high quality scan of NBC's memoriam to Robert Stack, please email me. The quote right under the main picture on this page is taken from that memoriam.
"A joyous life, a treasured friend..."
-- Tribute from Cosgrove-Meurer Productions, the production company for "Unsolved Mysteries"

“The truth is he lived 84 golden years.... He was a golden boy who became a golden man. Nobody lived a better life that I know of than Bob."
"[He had a] wonderful sense of absurd humor. His greatest laughs were always at himself. There was a lightness to him that was just remarkable."
-- both quotes said by John Milius, writer-director and long-time friend of the Stacks

"[Bob was] a consummate professional. He was very admired by his fellow actors. You knew he was going to give you everything he could give you. He was raised the standard in every way. As a human being, he was a true gentleman and a man of great integrity."
-- actor Robert Wagner

"[Bob] had an extraordinary career in both movies and television. Just when it seemed he was ready to retire, he always found a new project that kept him busy and filled with wonderful stories.”
-- Nancy Reagan

"Bob inhabited that role. It was flawless. He was Eliot Ness, and we just followed his lead."
"He's one of the last great stars of Hollywood. He remained on top all those years and was well respected."
-- both quotes said by Paul Picerni, who portrayed federal agent Lee Hobson in the tv series, "The Untouchables"

"He was crucial to the show ["Unsolved Mysteries"], an element as integral to it as the color blue to the sky."
-- John Cosgrove, "Unsolved Mysteries" creator and executive producer

Quotes from Stack himself

A Chat With Robert Stack - Originally from Lifetime's website, conducted on June 20, 2002.

"If you're a star you go through the front door carrying the roses, instead of through the back door carrying the garbage."

"As a matter of national survival, we need to do the best we can to sponsor the good guys and to do something active about bringing down the bad guys."

"I think there's a definite carry-over from Eliot Ness. Somebody once said, 'You really think you're Eliot Ness.' No, I don't think I'm Ness, but I sure as hell know I'm not Al Capone.'"

"It's not what you are in Hollywood - it's what people think you are."

(on being in show business) "It's tough. It's like being a member of a club, this profession. And you're kind of invited in and you hope that your invitation holds out for good."

"If I were missing and if I were to describe myself to investigators, well, the guy looks like Eliot Ness, he's driving a '32 Ford, and he's carrying a machine gun."

(on being presented the Hollywood Legend Award in 2001) "I'm no legend. When I hear the word legend, I think about the guys I knew and respected mightily when I grew up: Clark Gable, who was basically my surrogate father after my dad died when I was 9, and Gary Cooper and Spencer Tracy. These guys were legends."

(when mobster Sam Giancana mistakened Stack as Eliot Ness) "If you play a character long enough, you become that character in the eyes of viewers. But here's Public Enemy No. 1, head of Murder, Inc., and he thinks I'm the real Eliot Ness! It can't get any goofier."

Excerpt below from Straight Shooting by Robert Stack with Mark Evans. MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. 1980. Page 14. Stack may scare the wits out of viewers as the host of TV's "Unsolved Mysteries" with his calm yet creepy and mysterious voice. But at age 6, something scared him when he and his French nurse saw, in his own words, "an operatic fantasy".

"I had been brought up on opera in Italy, but this was one I'd never seen before. As far as I could tell, it was about a masked man in love with an opera singer and very jealous of her admirers. He lived under an opera house and killed off the lady's admirers by drowning them, dropping things on them, and so forth. So far, this wasn't too different from Puccini. In the climatic scene, our dweller carried his lady love down to his apartment and began playing to her on a great organ.

"As his girl friend reached forward to take off his mask and reveal his identity, my darling mademoiselle [Robert's French nurse] said, 'Watch now, dear, this is when he is discovered as the fairy prince.' There was a slight pause after she pulled off the mask, and then full face into the camera appeared the most ghastly apparition ever put on film. It was Lon Chaney's masterpiece, The Phantom of the Opera. I let out a six-year-old shriek of terror and slid under the seat. That night I shared my mother's bed, and I didn't stop shaking for two days. As for mademoiselle, she was suspicious of everything American until the day she died."

Movie and TV Quotes

To Be or Not to Be (1942)
Role: Lieutenant Stanislav Sobinski

Maria Tura (Carole Lombard): "No, no, no. I think we've talked much too much about me. Tell me about yourself."
Lieutenant Stanislav Sobinski: "Well, there isn't much to tell. I just fly a bomber."
Maria Tura: "Oh, how perfectly thrilling!"
Lieutenant Stanislav Sobinski: "I don't know about it being thrilling. But it's quite a bomber. You might not believe it, but I can drop three tons of dynamite in two minutes."
Maria Tura: "Really?"
Lieutenant Stanislav Sobinski: "Does that interest you?"
Maria Tura: "It certainly does."

Lieutenant Stanislav Sobinski: "Well, the other night, Professor Siletsky was addressing us at the camp, and I mentioned the name of Maria Tura - and he never heard of her."
General Armstrong (Halliwell Hobbes): "Neither have I."
Lieutenant Stanislav Sobinski : "Oh, but, sir, she's supposed to be the most famous actress in Poland."
General Armstrong: "Now, look, son, there are plenty of us who aren't interested in the theater. As a matter of fact, there's only one actress that I ever heard of - and I certainly hope I'll never hear from her again."

Written on the Wind (1956) (from
Role: Kyle Hadley

(to Lucy Moore [Lauren Bacall]): "Not to play, but to work, to behave like, like Tom, Dick, and Harry. I-I'd ask you for dates, take you to lunches, to the movies. I'd be happy with a good night kiss. I'd think seriously about all the things I used to laugh at, like having a wife and a home and kids. Right now, there's one thing you don't have to suppose. I'm in love with you. So much so that I want to marry you."

Kyle: "A toast to - to beauty - and the truth, which is anything but beautiful...This is an occasion. We must proceed with, with quiet dignity..."
Mitch Wayne (Rock Hudson): "What are we celebrating?"
Kyle: "The end of a drought, a year-long drought."
Mitch: "We drank a toast to truth."
Kyle: "So?"
Mitch: "So you ought to let us in on what you're really celebrating - or mourning. (Kyle laughs)..."
Kyle: "So you'd like to know my secret. The secret is - not to pour the vermouth, just to pretend you're pouring it."

Lucy: "Do you love me?"
Kyle: "Love you? I don't even love myself."
Lucy: "Kyle, what is it? Is it something I've said or something I've done or should have done?"
Kyle: "I can't tell you. I'm afraid. It's like I was deep in a mountain pass, snowcaps hanging over my head. If I make a sound, snow might all come tumbling down. Bury me - alive."

Marylee Hadley (Dorothy Malone), on Lucy: "That was no lady. That was your wife."
Kyle: "Where are they [Lucy and Mitch] going?"
Marylee: "I don't know. Where would you take your best friend's wife?"
Kyle: "You're a real sweet kid."
Marylee: "Now be nice to me, brother. One morning we'll wake up, and we'll be all alone together."
Kyle: "Go on, sister. Tell me another pretty story."
Marylee: "Once upon a time, there was a poor little rich boy."
Kyle: "Kyle Hadley by name."
Marylee: "Who pickled his tiny brain with gin and bourbon."
Kyle: "Not so. Scotch."
Marylee: "Till he got so stinking blind, he couldn't see what was going on right under his big red nose."
Kyle: "But his charming, righteous little sister did."
Marylee: "Yes, she saw the end of a marriage and the beginning of a love affair."
Kyle: "You're a filthy liar."
Marylee: "I'm filthy - period. But you don't have to take my word for anything. Just try keeping your head clear and your eyes open."
Kyle: "Why should you care? You've never cared about me."
Marylee: "Or your wife."
Kyle: "Why are you putting your two cents in?"
Marylee: "Only because of Mitch. Because I've never had him, and your wife has."

(Kyle finds out Lucy is pregnant and believes Mitch had an affair with her)
Lucy: "Kyle, it's true."
Kyle: "You shouldn't have done that to me. You shouldn't have."
Lucy: "What are you talking about?"
Kyle: "Mitch. You and the Mitch."
Lucy: "Don't say that Kyle. Don't even think it."
Kyle: "What did you think? You think I was just a drunken idiot? That I'd believe you? That I'd let you use my name? Take my money? You can rot in hell! You, Mitch, and your little..."
Lucy: "Kyle, I've had nothing to do with Mitch."
Kyle: (striking out with rage) "You dirty tramp!"

(Kyle confronts Mitch at gunpoint for having an affair with Lucy): "You lousy white trash. You no-account, two-faced dog. I'm gonna watch you cringe. Then I'm gonna put a bullet in your best friend. My lifelong pal. What a laugh! You crawlin' snake. You crept in here, sponged off us Hadleys, stole everything I ever wanted, everything I ever had...You made me small in my father's eyes. You made my sister spit at me. Then, you stole my wife."

Airplane! (1980)
Role: Captain Rex Kramer

Rex Kramer, to Steve McCroskey (Lloyd Bridges): "The plan is to build him [Ted Striker] up. Give him all the confidence we can. [to Ted Striker via speaker] Striker, have you ever flown a multi-engine plane before?"
Ted Striker: "No. Never."
Rex Kramer: "S***! It's a g-ddamn waste of time! There's no way he can land this plane!"

"Striker, you listen and you listen close. Flying an airplane is no different from learning how to ride a bicycle. Just a lot harder to put baseball cards in the spokes."

"Get that finger out of your ear! You don't know where that finger's been!"

Kramer (to Striker, who isn't there): "Christmas, Ted. What does that mean to you? Getting dragged and kicked? [pause] Of course not, that doesn't happen, skip that Ted."

"Unsolved Mysteries" (1987-present)
Role: Host

"For every mystery, there is somewhere, somewhere, who knows the truth. Perhaps that someone is watching. Perhaps... it's you".

"Authorities need your help to track down this robber." Any variation of that line in Stack's authoritative voice will make you listen, whether you know anything about the case proflied or not.

"If you have any information on this case, write to us at Unsolved Mysteries... You need not give your name."

Transformers: The Movie (1987)
Role (voice-over): Ultra Magnus

(trying to open the Matrix): [straining] "Open, dammit, open. Prime you said the matrix would light our darkest hour."

Beavis and Butthead Do America (1996)
Role (voice-over): ATF Agent Flemming

"Bork, you're a federal agent. You represent the foundation of the United States. Never end a sentence in a preposition!"

Memoriam: Robert Stack
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