Fame is but the empty noise of madmen.

- Epictetus, c. 100

Reality is always the foe of famous names.

- Petrarch, 1337

Wood burns because it has the proper stuff in it, and a man becomes famous because he has the proper stuff in him.

- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, c. 1790

Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury—to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best both for the body and the mind.

- Albert Einstein, 1931

Worldly fame is but a breath of wind that blows now this way, now that, and changes names as it changes in direction.

- Dante Alighieri, c. 1315

There lurks in every human heart a desire of distinction which inclines every man first to hope and then to believe that nature has given him something peculiar to himself. 

- Samuel Johnson, 1763

All people have the common desire to be elevated in honor, but all people have something still more elevated in themselves without knowing it.

- Mengzi , c. 330 BC

They are trying to make me into a fixed star. I am an irregular planet.

- Martin Luther, c. 1530

We all have a contract with the public—in us they see themselves, or what they would like to be.

- Clark Gable, 1935

And what will history say of me a thousand years hence?

- Marcus Tullius Cicero, 59 BC

If fame is only to come after death, I am in no hurry for it.

- Martial, c. 86

Fame is no sanctuary from the passing of youth. Suicide is much easier and more acceptable in Hollywood than growing old gracefully.

- Julie Burchill, 1986

Avoid the talk of men. For talk is mischievous, light, and easily raised, but hard to bear and difficult to be rid of. Talk never wholly dies away when many people voice her: even talk is in some ways divine.

- Hesiod, c. 700 BC

FAMOUS, adj. Conspicuously miserable.

- Ambrose Bierce, 1906

I’m afraid of losing my obscurity. Genuineness only thrives in the dark. Like celery.

- Aldous Huxley, 1925

I won’t be happy till I’m as famous as God.

- Madonna, c. 1985

How sweet it is to have people point and say, “There he is.”

- Persius, c. 60

What is popularly called fame is nothing but an empty name and a legacy from paganism.

- Desiderius Erasmus, 1515

What a heavy burden is a name that has become too famous.

- Voltaire, 1723

He who treats another human being as divine thereby assigns to himself the relative status of a child or an animal.

- E. R. Dodds, 1951

Being a star has made it possible for me to get insulted in places where the average Negro could never hope to go and get insulted.

- Sammy Davis Jr., 1965

Those who know the joys and miseries of celebrities when they have passed the age of forty know how to defend themselves.

- Sarah Bernhardt, 1904

A woman’s greatest glory is to be little talked about by men, whether for good or ill.

- Pericles, c. 450 BC

I am sick and tired of publicity. I want no more of it. It puts me in a bad light. I just want to be forgotten.

- Al Capone, 1929

When I do a show, the whole show revolves around me, and if I don’t show up, they can just forget it.

- Ethel Merman, c. 1955

Fame will go by and, so long, I’ve had you, fame. If it goes by, I’ve always known it was fickle. So at least it’s something I experienced, but that’s not where I live.

- Marilyn Monroe, 1962

There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.

- Oscar Wilde, 1891

Now there is fame! Of all—hunger, misery, the incomprehension by the public—fame is by far the worst. It is the castigation by God of the artist. It is sad. It is true.

- Pablo Picasso, c. 1961

Men are generally more pleased with a widespread than with a great reputation.

- Pliny the Younger, c. 110

Happy is the man who hath never known what it is to taste of fame—to have it is a purgatory, to want it is a hell!

- Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1843

I would much rather have men ask why I have no statue than why I have one.

- Cato the Elder, c. 184 BC

Most authors seek fame, but I seek for justice—a holier impulse than ever entered into the ambitious struggles of the votaries of that fickle, flirting goddess.

- Davy Crockett, 1834