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Life Lessons From Jeff Goldblum

The actor shares his wealth of knowledge gained over his extensive acting career

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In a career that’s spanned five decades and is still cruising along at an impressive clip, Jeff Goldblum has been chased by dinosaurs and attacked by aliens. He’s morphed into a fly and played his share of creepy lotharios. At the moment, he’s appearing as a cat-loving lawyer in Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, a Paris-based bohemian intellectual in Roger Michell’s indie Le Week-End, and a variety of kooky characters on IFC’s Portlandia. Both on screen and off, Goldblum, 61, follows a clear personal philosophy that’s part spontaneous joie de vivre, part diligent work ethic. “The thing that interests me most — that I have to fight for, and that I’m luckier now than ever to do — [is finding projects] exclusively that are really thrilling to my tummy and innards,” he says. Here, Goldblum shares his choicest words of wisdom gathered from his years in Hollywood.

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Food of Love: “Music has so many lessons to teach us about how to tell a story. My life is different because I play the piano every day.”

Body Electric: “The human body is a portal to your understanding of the universe, even in the swirls of your fingertips and the multicolors in your eyes.”

Perfectly Imperfect: “I like what [famed choreographer] Martha Graham said about living with a ‘divine dissatisfaction’ with the work you’ve done. That keeps you revved up.”

Creation-ism: “The lifelong devotion to making beautiful things is a beautiful thing to be around.”

Reality Check: “You can’t call yourself an actor until you make yourself into an actor.”

Lashing Out: “The eyelash is one of the most beautifully created things: the way they are separated, the way the color of each is unmatched. People tell you that mascara will make your eyes ‘pop,’ but you’re gluing your eyelashes together like an oil spill. Don’t try to mask nature.”

Passion and Practice: “If you don’t want to act every day, you should probably be doing something different. You don’t get to fly like Fred Astaire if you haven’t gone over that dance for a million hours.”

So Shellfish: “From one bad experience: If shrimp is left out for several hours, don’t eat it.”

Heads Up!: “Don’t be looking at your phone while you’re crossing the street. It isn’t just up to other people to make sure you’re okay.”