Does Size Matter When it Comes to Acting Success and Relationships?



Stallone and Pacino

Stallone and Pacino

My daughter and I were having a discussion about actors, Hollywood and the whole “entertainment” aspect of life. It got much deeper when she innocently asked, “Why do the short actors never stay married?”

That is a valid question.

Insomuch that I am not of the Hollywood “in” crowd, nor do I watch TMZ, nor whatever the name of that Billy Bush show is (wait, he’s short too) or any number of the shows about actors, Kardashians or Dancing Stars, I decided to go the Psychology route of explanation for this obvious assessment: The Napolean Complex. defines the Napolean Complex as:

“The condition of being small in stature but aggressively ambitious and seeking absolute control.”

Being aggressively ambitious helps one become successful in the cutthroat land of Hollywood. But needing absolute control isn’t good for relationships.  First, I’m not saying that ALL actors are short or can’t succeed in relationships.  But look how many “successful” ones are relationship cursed: Success is defined here by popularity at the box office with a height of under 6″ and more than one marriage or none at all.

  1. Mickey Rooney              5’2″    8 wives
  2. Dudley Moore                5’3″    4 wives
  3. Richard Dreyfuss          5’5″     3 wives
  4. Al Pacino                        5’7″     No wives, many relationships, 3 children
  5. Tom Cruise                    5’7″     3 wives
  6. Sylvester Stallone         5’9″    3 wives w/a number of relationships in between

I personally adore Al Pacino. At least he’s honest about his selfishness for career and is very much in control of his roles.  I personally have a huge distaste for Sylvester Stallone (Which is sad, because as a teenager I had a huge crush on him when Rocky debuted and the story of how his wife worked and stayed up late typing the screenplay to support him was so touching to me.  He promptly divorced her after his success.  ‘Nuf said as to why I dislike him)

The point here is that to be successful, one must be aggressive.  To be successful in a relationship, one must know themselves before they can know another and always temper their aggression.  Absolute control only works for solitary people and delusional people Does Kim Jong-Il come to mind? 

Not all short actors get divorced.  Many have healthy, successful relationships and careers. Michael J. Fox comes to mind.  Short people often get the short end of the stick in public perception (bad pun)  But like all people, no matter the career or stature, it takes a lot of ambition, a little luck, a lot of understanding and the ability to put your own needs aside for the one you love for a healthy balance between career and relationships.  Maybe the last need is the one that is difficult for actors….Or at least that’s been my experience with people in that field.

As our conversation ends, my daughter has decided now to only date men taller than she….and she’s almost 5’9″. No, not because of her psychological enlightenment, but because she likes to wear heels and can’t with a shorter man.  Go figure!