When the curtain went up, or the cameras rolled, she said, “I did the best I could.”

And because she always did just that, the absolute best she could, I will be forever inspired and motivated by, and grateful to the extraordinary Ms. Stapleton. May she rest in peace.

“The truth is, if it isn’t abused, the Method can help. The Method school of acting came from the theories of Konstantin Stanislavsky, director of the Moscow Arts Theatre. Stanislavsky encouraged actors to ‘respond as much to their own inner feelings as to the requirements of the text for dramatic effectiveness.’ While I believe it’s all well and good to give yourself over and plumb your own depths for the part, I’m afraid the Method often became a matter of self-indulgence and self-consciousness. Furthermore, I didn’t think it was the one and only way to do things any more than I believed that the Delsarte Method was the be-all and end-all. You have to be real and alive and fresh in the part each time. That’s your job, and there are many roads to good acting. I’ve been asked repeatedly what the “key” to acting is, and as far as I’m concerned, the main thing is to keep the audience awake.” — Maureen Stapleton, A Hell of a Life

Backstage, clutching her REDS Best Supporting Actress Oscar in her hands, Ms. Stapleton was asked what it felt like to be recognized as one of the greatest actresses in the world. “Not nearly as exciting,” she replied, “as it would be if I were acknowledged as one of the greatest lays in the world.”