Sonja Meets The Press

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection. Used with permission.

One the most talented and incredibly complex figures in figure skating history, Sonja Henie brought skating to a new audience on the silver screen after winning three Olympic gold medals and ten World titles. Enthralling audiences from Oslo to Oklahoma City, the Norwegian darling of the ice had plenty to say to reporters at the height of her success and today on the blog, we'll let her words speak for themselves. From backstage interviews to society pages to press conferences, here's an eclectic collection of Sonja Henie quotables.

Sonja Henie being interviewed by reporters. Photo courtesy Boston Public Library.

ON NORWEGIANS HAVING A SWEET TOOTH

"Norwegians are a hardy race with rugged constitutions and athletic tendencies. With this, and the long, cold winters, they become great consumers of sweets, cakes and cookies. The severe winters and strenuous life make their demand for sugars very high."

ON HER START IN HOLLYWOOD

"I wanted so much to be a picture star but I knew enough not to make the big mistake of going to Hollywood and begging for a job. No - that is not good showmanship. I gathered together a group of good skaters and took them to Hollywood with me. Then I rented the ice rink and put on my show. I told myself that this was the best way. If I was screen material, the studios would make me offers. If not, I would go back to Norway."

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection. Used with permission.

ON HER PROWESS IN THE KITCHEN

"I learned to bake, cook and keep house about the same time I learned to skate. In Norway, it's a lasting disgrace for a girl to fail to become a first class housekeeper."

ON IF SHE'D EVER CHANGE HER NAME IN HOLLYWOOD

"No. Sonja Henie is a lovely name."


ON MOVING INTO MYRNA LOY'S COLDWATER CANYON HOME

"When we moved in Myrna had the house filled with flowers and everything beautifully arranged for us, so we invited her to come and pay us a visit. She and Arthur [Hornblow] came together and I was glad to find them so happy. I suppose when we move out they will return here to live, it's so quiet and peaceful."

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection. Used with permission.

ON PERFORMING HER FAMOUS HULA NUMBER

"I've never had so much fun on skates as I do in the Hula, and in the 'Little Brown Girl' number which follows it."

ON HER DREAMS AFTER MARRYING DAN TOPPING

"I love to skate. It's a part of me, but I have told Dan that I won't go on tour, at least not until we spend a whole year together. We want to have a home. I am a Norwegian, my ancestors have all been homemakers. I want a garden, a place in the country."

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection. Used with permission.

ON ENDORSING CIGARETTES 

"No. I don't smoke. I think there is little honesty in endorsing things one doesn't believe in... As an athlete, I have no use for cigarettes. I think I have a large audience of children on the screen, too. To smoke, it seems to me, would be to teach them a poor lesson for their age."

A later ad that depicted Sonja endorsing Chesterfield cigarettes

ON NEW YORK GOSSIP COLUMNIST LEE MORTIMER 

"Where is this Mortimer? Others like me and like my show. But always this critic says bad things. And I have never seen him. Really, I would like to meet him. If we do meet, I will have to hold Dan [Topping] back or he will punch that Mortimer's eyes and that would be too bad. I really do want so badly to see what he looks like."

ON HER RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CONDUCTOR OF HER ORCHESTRA

"I drive our orchestra leader crazy. You see, I usually spin through one full chorus, but I can push him out to holding a chorus and a half. And sometimes I spin and spin until his musicians are blue in the face. Eighty-five times I can spin; I can spin more now than when I was younger, for some reason."

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