photo: peter hapak for the new york times

A few weeks ago, The New York Times Magazine ran Peter Dinklage Was Smart to Say No, a story about Peter Dinklage, the 4-foot-5 actor who, after years spent saying NO to playing stereotype elves and leprechauns – and consequently often living in poverty – won both a Golden Globe and an Emmy for his character  Tyrion Lannister in HBO’s Game of Thrones. A quote from Dan Kois’ interview with Dinkelage really made us think:

“I feel really lucky,” he said, then added, “although I hate that word — ‘lucky.’ ”

When I asked him why, he mulled it over for a moment, looking away. Then he focused back on me.

“It cheapens a lot of hard work,” he said. “Living in Brooklyn in an apartment without any heat and paying for dinner at the bodega with dimes — I don’t think I felt myself lucky back then. Doing plays for 50 bucks and trying to be true to myself as an” — here he put on a faux snooty voice — “artist and turning down commercials where they wanted a leprechaun. Saying I was lucky negates the hard work I put in and spits on that guy who’s freezing his ass off back in Brooklyn. So I won’t say I’m lucky. I’m fortunate enough to find or attract very talented people. For some reason I found them, and they found me.”

It made us wonder if there’s much difference between being ‘lucky’ and ‘fortunate’, and if our luck, or blessings, are made –  with fierce persistence –  or just….found…

…or if life is always a unpredictable mix of the two.

Peter Dinkelage in Elf
new line/courtesy everett collection

photo: Peter Hapak

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2 replies on “is luck made or found? (peter dinkelage)

  1. gamblers’ say “better players have better luck”

  2. just musing on it is rich enough…the mystery…perhaps less about the answer and more about the question…i do find his perspective compelling, thoughtful and heartfelt…thanks, always, thanks!

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