Thurber's brain The neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran discusses the effect of damaged vision on Thurber's imagination in Phantoms in the Brain). He proposes that Thurber had Charles Bonnet syndrome, a mental condition which causes certain victims of eyesight damage to see highly vivid hallucinations. In his essay "The Admiral on the Wheel", Thurber reported seeing hallucinations, including a gay old lady with a grey parasol walking right through the side of a truck, and bridges rising lazily into the air, like balloons. Quotations "If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons." "Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." "Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness." "It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers." "You can fool too many of the people too much of the time." "One martini is all right. Two are too many, and three are not enough." "Don't get it right; get it written." "It is not so easy to fool little girls nowadays as it used to be." "There is no safety in numbers, or in anything else." "Never allow a nervous female to have access to a pistol, no matter what you're wearing." "You might as well fall flat on your face as lean too far backward" From My Life And Hard Times, referring to a fellow Ohio State student and football star: "In order to be eligible to play it was necessary for him to keep up in his studies, a very difficult matter, for while he was not dumber than an ox he was not any smarter." Thurber is sometimes misquoted as the source of the quip, "A woman's place is in the wrong." In fact, Thurber merely repeated the quotation in a speech and rather criticized it, saying: "Somebody has said that woman's place is in the wrong. That's fine. What the wrong needs is a woman's presence and a woman's touch. She is far better equipped than men to set it right." He went on to clarify his conception of women by saying, "If I have sometimes seemed to make fun of Woman, I assure you it has only been for the purpose of egging her on." "Precision of communication is important, more important than ever, in our era of hair trigger balances, when a false or misunderstood word may create as much disaster as a sudden thoughtless act.”
Ustinov Following military service as a private soldier during World War II, during which he had made propaganda films with actors such as David Niven, he began to branch out into writing. His first major success was with The Love of Four Colonels in 1951. His career as a dramatist continued alongside his acting career, his best-known play being Romanoff and Juliet (1956). His film roles include Roman emperor Nero in Quo Vadis? (1951), Captain Vere in Billy Budd (1962), Lentulus Batiatus in Spartacus (1960), an old man surviving a totalitarian future in Logan's Run (1976), and in a half dozen films as Hercule Poirot, a part he first played in Death on the Nile (1978). He also worked on several films as writer and occasionally director, including The Way Ahead (1944), School for Secrets (1946), Hot Millions (1968) and Memed My Hawk (1984). He won Oscars for Best Supporting Actor for his roles in Spartacus (1960) and Topkai (1964). He also won two Golden Globe awards (he famously set the Oscar and Globe statues up on his desk as if playing doubles tennis; the game was also a love of his life, as was ocean yachting). Between 1952 and 1955 Ustinov starred alongside Peter Jones in the much-loved BBC radio comedy In All Directions. In the later part of his life (from 1969 until his death), his acting and writing tasks took second place to his work on behalf of UNICEF - the United Nations Children's Fund, for which he was a Goodwill Ambassador and fundraiser. In this role he visited some of the neediest children and made use of his ability to make just about anybody laugh, including many of the world's most disadvantaged children. "Sir Peter could make anyone laugh," UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy is quoted as saying. "His one-man show in German was the funniest performance I have ever seen – and I don’t speak a word of German." Ustinov also served as President of the World Federalist Movement from 1991 until his death. He is most well-known to many British people as a chat-show guest, a role to which he was ideally suited - his multicultural background made it possible for him to criticise the British character with good humour. He spoke English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Russian, fluently, as well as some Turkish and modern Greek. He was proficient in accents and dialects in all his languages. In the late 1960s, he became a Swiss citizen to avoid the British tax system of the time which taxed the earnings of the wealthy at up to 90 per cent. However, he was knighted in 1990, and was appointed Chancellor of the University of Durham in 1992, having previously served as Rector of the University of Dundee in the late 1970s (a role in which he moved from being merely a figure-head to taking on a political role, negotiating with militant students). He received an honorary doctorate from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium). Ustinov was a frequent defender of the Chinese government, stating in an address to the University of Durham in 2000, "People are annoyed with the Chinese for not respecting more human rights. But with a population that size it's very difficult to have the same attitude to human rights." In 2003, Durham's postgraduate college (previously known as the Graduate Society) was renamed Ustinov College. He died on March 28, 2004, due to heart failure in Switzerland. He was so well regarded as a goodwill ambassador that UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy spoke at his funeral and represented United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. When, in an interview, he was once asked what he would like it to read on his tombstone, Ustinov replied "Please keep off the grass". Ustinov graciously gave his name to the Foundation of the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for their prestigious Sir Peter Ustinov Television Scriptwriting Award, given annually to a young television screenwriter.