Oprah: I'm with you. But I can tell you for a fact that I do not feel a thing for flies. I am not that evolved. Do you save flies?
Sidney: If a fly's on my arm, I will brush near it.
Oprah: But you won't hit it?
Sidney: I wouldn't swat it.
Oprah: Now that is honor beyond that which I know.
Sidney: I have this feeling that life is so magically created that if I respect it, that respect will come circling back to me in ways I don't even know.
Oprah: I believe that. Now I must go home and mourn the flies I've killed! Sidney, how is it that you never appeared to be angry?
Sidney: Let me tell you about anger. I don't express it to people, to family, to friends. I know better than most about the devastating results of humiliation. I know how soul-destroying rejection is. I walked into a hotel once, and there was a famous emcee standing there. He was speaking with some friends, and I stood aside and admired him. At a moment when I thought I wouldn't be disturbing him, I walked up and said, "Excuse me, may I please have your autograph?" He didn't say anything. He just looked at me with an annoyed look, like I was wasting his time. I was frozen. Finally, he reached out in a disparaging way and took my paper and pen, scribbled something and passed it back to me. I felt awful, awful, awful. I collect those moments, just like I collected my regrets about the birds. And having to carry that moment inside me produced a certain response, and as a result, I am never too rushed to give someone an autograph.
Sidney: I will stop. And if I'm running to catch a plane, I will say to the person, "Please jog with me." I don't want to be the agent of passing that feeling to anybody.
Oprah: Have you been able to pass on all of your wisdom and honor to your children?
Sidney: I live my life as we have discussed, and my children see that. After I won the Screen Actors Guild award [for lifetime achievement], one of my daughters said to me, "You're pretty good, Dad." Now this is a kid who most of the time thinks I'm just an old fuddy-duddy, so I know when she says things like that, she's saying a lot more.
Oprah: Would your children say you're an easy dad to get along with?
Sidney: I think my children would be unlikely to say that I'm easy. But in general, I'm perceived as a person who's relatively easy to get along with.
Oprah: Would your wife, Joanna, agree with that statement?
Sidney: Yes. She would tell you that I'm a perfectionist to a degree and that I ask of others a certain kind of loyalty to and respect for relationships. My wife would say that, on occasion, I'm a little tough on the children.
We Hear You!