There are a lot of things to like about George Clooney. I’ll admit that I wasn’t a huge fan back in his E.R. days, but as time has gone on, he’s become the sort of famous person I wish all famous people were: He’s thoughtful, he’s classy, he’s nice, and he makes good movies, whether he’s behind the camera or in front of it. Esquire’s profile of him in their December 2013 issue drives home all of the things that are fabulous about George, so for your reading pleasure, we’ve pulled a whole bunch of life lessons from it. Ladies and gents, without further ado, we give you The George Clooney Guide to Life:
1. Do whatever it takes to win the people you care about over. George is a dog guy; after he lost one of them to a rattlesnake bite (awwww), he naturally wanted to get another. He found a black cocker-spaniel mix on the Internet and called the rescue organization who had him to see about getting him. The dog had been abandoned and picked up on the street. “He has to love you,” the woman from the rescue organization said, “or else I have to take him back.” So George took some turkey bacon he had in the fridge and rubbed it all over himself. “When she came over,” the actor said, “the dog went crazy. He was all over me. The woman said, ‘Oh my God, he’s never like this. He loves you.’” Mission accomplished.
2. Have some hobbies. George plays basketball. Maybe the difference between George Clooney playing basketball and people who are not George Clooney playing basketball is that George Clooney will probably one day play basketball with Leonardo DiCaprio—he and Leo met in Cabo, where they both have houses, and bonded over the sport—but still. Hobbies are good. Keep yourself busy when you’re not working.
3. Listen to the wisdom shared by those around you. Once, George called his dad to ask whether he was “in trouble” for his stance on the Iraq war. Here’s how it went: “He was like, ‘Do you have a job?’ I said yeah. He goes, ‘Do you have money in the bank?’ I said yeah. So he goes, ‘Shut up. Grow up—you’re a grown man, you know. Freedom of speech means that when you speak up, you have to be ready for people to say bad things about you. That’s how it works.’ And I said, ‘Got it.’ And you know, I knew it, but it does help to hear it from your old man.”
4. Use what you’ve got, but don’t get too big for your britches. George’s aunt was the late, great Rosemary Clooney—and although her name has gone down in history now, she definitely had her ups and downs. One of the big reasons George doesn’t have the kind of ego that gets a lot of stars in trouble is because, he says, “I had my Aunt Rosie, who was famous and then not, so I got a lesson in fame early on. And I understood how little it has to do with you. And also how you could use it.”
5. Keep the people you like around. George is famous for being a nice guy. He is, as Esquire puts it, “the president of a club of famous people he doesn’t consider assholes, and he convenes it every time he makes a movie.” That’s why he works with a lot of the same people over and over again—but that’s also why the work they all make together is usually good.
6. Don’t be a jerk. Russell Crowe once picked a fight with George, so he sent him a note saying, “Dude, the only people who succeed when two famous people are fighting is People magazine. What the f*** is wrong with you?” Now THAT’S how you deal with badmouthing.
For more, read the whole profile over at Esquire—it’s definitely worth checking out. Never change, George!
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s senior editor.