“During Double Indemnity, Fred MacMurray would go to rushes. I remember asking Fred, ‘How was I?’ ‘I don’t know about you – but I was wonderful!’ Such a true remark. Actors only look at themselves.” Barbara Stanwyck
Certainly there are people living with narcissistic personality disorder – in entertainment and other fields – who could benefit from therapy. Not to mention the benefit to other people. Although if it is at the level of a true disorder, it can be difficult to treat.
But what about the “ordinary” variety of narcissism that so many people have, including high ability and talented artists?
Are narcissim and high ability related?
Dennis Palumbo is a writer and licensed psychotherapist, specializing in creative issues. He says, “You do have to have a certain amount of grandiosity to be a writer or director or movie star. You do have to have a certain amount of narcissism.
“In defense of people in the entertainment industry, I would argue that the narcissism that’s necessary to say, ‘Gee, give me $150 million because I want to direct this movie,’ isn’t that different from the narcissism that says, ‘Give me $150 million; I want to be your president.’
“I mean, most achieving people have a very large amount of narcissism and grandiosity.
“And Goethe said that writing, for example, is so difficult, you need the hubris to believe that the world cannot live without what you’re doing. ‘Cause it’s so hard to do!”
Continued in his article: Creative people in Hollywood – which includes other issues, including self esteem and insecurities in entertainment careers.
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