What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
My father had a lot of good advice, but he was this sort of cliché guy—he had a cliché for almost any moment. Like I could say, “I’m pulling out this tree—it’s hard work.” He’d say, “That’s why they call it work.” One time he said to me, “It’s easy to be magnanimous when you’re the winner.” But that’s why they become clichés— because they’re true.
How should a man handle criticism?
Acting is like boxing. When you box, you get hit. It’s just what you do. You deal with it. You get banged around and then come back for round two. Everything’s a boxing analogy.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life?
What do you think every man should understand about women?
See her as an equal.
What is the secret to a happy marriage?
I wish I knew. I’ve been married twice— once for a long time, once for short time— and I don’t know…. I wish I knew.
What role should vanity play in a man’s life?
I am vain. I had a ski accident 25 years ago, and when the operation happened—there were screws and rods involved—some- thing went wrong and now I’m always a little crooked. I kind of lean to the left. I think about it. I don’t want people to see me at my worst. If I get a pimple, I don’t want to go out. That’s me. I can’t help it.
What should every man know about money?
Money has become the be-all, end-all. We’re not citizens so much as consumers— and it’s very difficult in this world to be more than a consumer.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
The bane of my existence is I’ve got kind of a big mouth. I would tell my younger self to keep that much more in check, to be a little more patient. And be less certain.
What’s the most indulgent purchase you’ve ever made?
After I got hired for Taxi, I think I was making $2,500 a week—it was more money than I could ever imagine. So I went and bought a ’67 Coupe Corvette. It was the last one they made before they changed the style. I paid $3,500 for it— and it was the most indulgent thing I’d ever done.
Do you still have it?
My son has it, and it’s still so beautiful.
What is the cure for heartache?
I’m not sure there is one. I guess the only thing that can cure a broken heart is somebody else coming along.
What’s the best survival tip you know?
Keep your eyes open, and keep your chin down.
Before acting, you were a pro boxer. When was the last time you fought?
It was probably 10 or 11 years ago. At Gleason’s in Brooklyn. We got in the ring and beat each other up for a while. It was great. I stunk, but it was great.
What adventure most changed your life?
Going to Hollywood and pulling onto the Paramount lot. I parked in the wrong place, and some guy started yelling at me and I started yelling back. Then Danny DeVito came over and said, “I think you’re with me.” And I walked into a whole different world.
Do you have any regrets?
Arthur Miller once said that the best we can hope for is we end up with the right regrets. I got some that aren’t so right and some that are. There are some that bother me and always will.