Tootsie: Wikis


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Theatrical release poster
Directed by Sydney Pollack
Produced by Sydney Pollack
Dick Richards
Written by Larry Gelbart
Murray Schisgal
Barry Levinson
Elaine May
Starring Dustin Hoffman
Jessica Lange
Teri Garr
Dabney Coleman
Charles Durning
Bill Murray
Sydney Pollack
Music by Dave Grusin
Cinematography Owen Roizman
Editing by Fredric Steinkamp
William Steinkamp
Studio Mirage
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) December 17, 1982
Running time 116 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $21 million
Gross revenue $177.2 million

Tootsie is a 1982 comedy film that tells the story of a talented but volatile actor whose reputation for being difficult forces him to go to extreme lengths to land a job. The movie stars Dustin Hoffman and Jessica Lange, with a supporting cast that includes Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman, Charles Durning, Bill Murray, and producer/director Sydney Pollack. Tootsie was adapted by Larry Gelbart, Barry Levinson (uncredited), Elaine May (uncredited) and Murray Schisgal from the story by Gelbart.

In 1998 the United States Library of Congress deemed the film “culturally significant” and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry. The theme song to the film, "It Might Be You" by singer-songwriter Stephen Bishop, was a Top 40 hit in the U.S.



Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is a respected but perfectionist actor on the verge of turning forty. Nobody in New York wants to hire him anymore because he is so difficult to work with. After four months without a job, he hears of an opening on the soap opera Southwest General (a parody of General Hospital) from his friend Sandy Lester (Teri Garr), who tries out for a role but doesn't get it. In desperation, he cross-dresses, auditions as ”Dorothy Michaels” and eventually wins the part.

Michael thinks it is just a temporary job to pay the bills, but he proves to be so popular as a feisty hospital administrator that, to his dismay, the producers sign him to a long-term contract. Dorothy is such a hit that she is even featured on the covers of a number of well-known magazines with such celebrities as Andy Warhol.

When Sandy catches Michael taking off his clothes to try on hers (to get more ideas for Dorothy's outfits), he covers up by seducing her. Their romantic relationship complicates his now busy schedule and desire to keep his secret from her.

Exacerbating matters even further, he is strongly attracted to one of his co-stars, Julie Nichols (Jessica Lange), a single mother in an unhealthy relationship with the show's amoral, sexist director, Ron Carlisle (Dabney Coleman), a man not entirely unlike Michael in his attitude toward women. At a party, when Michael (as himself) approaches Julie with a line that she had previously told Dorothy she would be receptive to, she instead throws a drink in his face. Yet when he makes tentative advances (as Dorothy), Julie is shocked and later tells “her” that she likes her, but not in a romantic way.

Meanwhile, Dorothy has her own admirers to contend with: older cast member John Van Horn (George Gaynes) and Julie’s widowed father Les (Charles Durning). Les even proposes marriage. Michael’s roommate, writer Jeff Slater (Bill Murray), and his agent, George Fields (Sydney Pollack), are in on the masquerade and watch in amazement as the situation escalates out of control.

Michael finds a clever way to extricate himself. When the cast is forced to perform live, he improvises and reveals that he is actually the character’s twin brother who took her place to avenge her, just the sort of weird plot twist for which soaps are noted (in particular the General Hospital “Sally Armitage is really Max Hedges!” storyline). The revelation allows everybody a more-or-less graceful way out. Julie is so outraged, she slugs him in the stomach (after the cameras are turned off).

Some weeks later, Michael waits for her outside the studio and touchingly confesses that “…I was a better man with you as a woman than I ever was with a woman as a man”. She forgives him.


Academy Awards




The idea of having director Sydney Pollack playing Hoffman’s agent, George Fields, was Hoffman’s. Pollack initially resisted the idea, but Hoffman eventually convinced him to take the role.[1]

Scenes set in the New York City Russian Tea Room were filmed in the actual restaurant.


Tootsie was well received by critics and is widely regarded as one of the best films of 1982.[2][3][4] Roger Ebert praised the film, giving it 4 out of 4 stars and observing that:

Tootsie is the kind of Movie with a capital M that they used to make in the 1940s, when they weren’t afraid to mix up absurdity with seriousness, social comment with farce, and a little heartfelt tenderness right in there with the laughs. This movie gets you coming and going.[5]

The films holds an 87% "Fresh" rating on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 38 reviews.[6]

Its opening weekend gross in the United States was $5,540,470.[7] Its final gross in the United States was $177,200,000,[7] making it the highest grossing comedy of 1982.

American Film Institute recognition

Video releases

The film was released on VHS by RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video in 1985 and on DVD in 2001. These releases were distributed by Columbia Pictures Home Entertainment. A special 25th Anniversary edition DVD, released by Sony Pictures, arrived in 2008.

See also


External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Tootsie is a 1982 film about an unemployed actor with a reputation for being difficult who disguises himself as a woman to get a role in a soap opera.

Directed by Sydney Pollack. Written by Larry Gelbart.
This Is a Hell of a Way To Make a Living. taglines


Michael Dorsey

  • I don't believe in hell. I believe in unemployment, but not hell.
  • You know, I could lay a big line on you and we could do a lot of role playing, but the simple truth is, is that I find you very interesting and I'd really like to make love to you.

Dorothy Michaels

  • [in her audition] Oh I know what y'all really want is some gross, caricature of a woman to prove some idiotic point that power makes a woman masculine, or masculine women are ugly. Well shame on you for letting a man do that, or any man that does that. That means you, dear. Miss Marshall. Shame on you, you macho shit head.
  • [to April, dressed only in bra and panties] What kind of mother would I be if I didn't give my girls tits... tips?

Jeff Slater

  • [waking up and seeing Michael as Dorothy] Mom?
  • I'm just afraid that you're going to burn in Hell for all this.
  • I don't like when somebody comes up to me the next day and says, "Hey, man, I saw your play. It touched me; I cried." I like it when a guy comes up to me a week later and says, "Hey, man, I saw your play... what happened?"
  • I think we're getting into a weird area here.
  • You slut.
  • That is one nutty hospital.

Sandy Lester

  • I'm going to feel this way until I don't feel this way anymore.
  • Well, good night, Michael. It was a wonderful party. My date left with someone else. I had a lot of fun. Do you have any Seconol?


  • George Fields: [to Michael] You're too much trouble. Get some therapy.
  • George Fields: [to Dorothy/Michael] I begged you to get therapy.
  • John Van Horne: [after Dorothy reveals she is a man] Does Jeff know?
  • Ron Carlisle: [after Dorothy reveals she is a man] I knew there was a reason she didn't like me!


Michael: Wait, I'll call you a cab.
Sandy: Don't bother. It's cheaper to get mugged.

George: Where do you come off sending me your roommate's play for you to star in? I'm your agent, not your mother! I'm not supposed to find plays for you to star in - I'm supposed to field offers! And that's what I do!
Michael: 'Field offers?' Who told you that, the Agent Fairy? That was a significant piece of work - I could've been terrific in that part.
George: Michael, nobody's gonna do that play.
Michael: Why?
George: Because it's a downer, that's why. Because nobody wants to produce a play about a couple that moved back to Love Canal.
Michael: But that actually happened!
George: Who gives a shit? Nobody wants to pay twenty dollars to watch people living next to chemical waste! They can see that in New Jersey!

Michael: Are you saying that nobody in New York will work with me?
George: No, no, that's too limited... nobody in Hollywood wants to work with you either. I can't even send you up for a commercial. You played a tomato for 30 seconds - they went a half a day over schedule because you wouldn't sit down.
Michael: Yes - it wasn't logical.
George: You were a tomato! A tomato doesn't have logic. A tomato can't move.
Michael: That's what I said. So if he can't move, how's he gonna sit down, George? [George sinks into his chair, holding his head in his hands.] I was a stand-up tomato: a juicy, sexy, beefsteak tomato. Nobody does vegetables like me. I did an evening of vegetables off-Broadway. I did the best tomato, the best cucumber... I did an endive salad that knocked the critics on their ass.

Sandy: Wish me luck.
Michael: [trying to help her keep her anger for an audition] Fuck you.
Sandy: Thanks.
Michael: Fuck you.

[Dorothy Michaels' screen test]
Rita: I'd like to make her look a little more attractive, how far can you pull back?
Cameraman: How do you feel about Cleveland?
Rita: Knock it off.

John: I'm just an untalented old has-been.
Dorothy: Were you ever famous?
John Van Horne: No.
Dorothy: Then how can you be a has-been?

Julie: I know I'm pretty and I use it. I just guess I shouldn't have gone to Dr. Brewster's office so late.
Dorothy: Well, no, that's not true. You know, Dr. Brewster has tried to seduce several nurses on this ward. Always claiming to be in the throes of an uncontrollable impulse. Do you know what?
Ron: [in the control room] Uh-oh.
Dorothy: I think I'm gonna give every nurse on this floor an electric cattle prod, and just instruct them to just zap him in his badoobies.
[Julie tries, unsuccessfully, to hold back a giggle.]
Ron: [standing up, outraged] Cattle prod?
Dorothy: Ruby? Hi, you wanna open the yellow pages under the section, Farm Equipment retail...

Sandy: Michael, are you gay?
Michael: In what sense?

Michael: Friends?
Sandy: No, we are not friends. I don't take this shit from friends. Only lovers.

Julie: [answering phone] Hello?
Dorothy: That's a corncob.

Ron: You don't like me, do you? Now, I can respect that. There's not many women that I can't make like me. Why don't you like me?
Dorothy: I don't like the way you treat Julie. I don't like the way you patronize her. I don't like the way you deceive her. I don't like the way you lie to her.
Ron: What do you mean?
Dorothy: You want me to go on?
Ron: No, no. I know what you mean.

George: You are psychotic!
Michael: No, I'm not, I'm employed.

Michael: You should have seen the look on her face when she thought I was a lesbian.
George: "Lesbian"? You just said gay.
Michael: No, no, no - Sandy thinks I'm gay, Julie thinks I'm a lesbian.
George: I thought Dorothy was supposed to be straight?
Michael: Dorothy IS straight. Tonight Les, the sweetest, nicest man in the world asked me to marry him.
George: A guy named Les wants YOU to marry him?
Michael: No, no, no - he wants to marry Dorothy.
George: Does he know she's a lesbian?
Michael: Dorothy's not a lesbian!
George: I know that, does he know that?
Michael: Know what?
George: That, er, I... I don't know.

John: [finishing his drink] Dorothy, I want you.
Dorothy: I beg your pardon?

Dorothy/Michael: Thank you, Gordon. Well, I cannot tell you all how deeply moved I am. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would be the object of so much genuine affection. It makes it all the more difficult for me to say what I'm now going to say. Yes. I do feel it's time to set the record straight. You see, I didn't come here just as an administrator, Dr. Brewster; I came to this hospital to settle an old score. Now you all know that my father was a brilliant man; he built this hospital. What you don't know is that to his family, he was an unmerciful tyrant - a absolute dodo bird. He drove my mother, his wife, to - to drink; in fact, she - uh, she she she went riding one time and lost all her teeth. The son Edward became a recluse, and the oldest daughter - the pretty one, the charming one - became pregnant when she was fifteen years old and was driven out of the house. In fact, she was so terrified that she would, uh, that, uh, that, that, that the baby daughter would bear the stigma of illegitimacy that she, she - she decided to change her name and she contracted a disfiguring disease... after moving to Tangiers, which is where she raised the, the, the little girl as her sister. But her one ambition in life - besides the child's happiness - was to become a nurse, so she returned to the States and joined the staff right here at Southwest General. Well, she worked here, she knew she had to speak out wherever she saw injustice and inhumanity. God save us, you do understand that, don't you, Dr. Brewster?
John: I never laid a hand on her.
Dorothy/Michael: Yes, you did. And she was shunned by all you nurses, too... and by a, what do you call it, what do you call it, a - something like a pariah, to you doctors who found her idealistic and reckless. But she was deeply, deeply, deeply, deeply, deeply, deeply loved by her brother. It was this brother who, on the day of her death, swore to the good Lord above that he would follow in her footsteps, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and, just, just, just, just, just, just, just, just, just, just owe it all up to her. But on her terms. As a woman. And just as proud to be a woman as she ever was. For I am not Emily Kimberly, the daughter of Dwayne and Alma Kimberly. No, I'm not. I'm Edward Kimberly, the recluse brother of my sister Anthea. Edward Kimberly, who has finally vindicated his sister's good name. I am Edward Kimberly. Edward Kimberly. And I'm not mentally ill, but proud, and lucky, and strong enough to be the woman that was the best part of my manhood. The best part of myself.

Julie: I miss Dorothy.
Michael: You don't have to. She's right here. And she misses you. Look, you don't know me from Adam. But I was a better man with you, as a woman... than I ever was with a woman, as a man. You know what I mean? I just gotta learn to do it without the dress. At this point, there might be an advantage to my wearing pants. The hard part's over, you know? We were already... good friends.


  • This Is a Hell of a Way To Make a Living.
  • Desperate, he took a female role and became a star. If only he could tell the woman he loves.
  • He's Tootsie... She's Dustin Hoffman
  • What do you get when you cross a hopelessly straight starving actor with a dynamite red sequined dress? You get America's hottest new actress.
  • Can you keep a secret? In the next 72 hours, this desperate, unemployed actor will secretly audition for the lead of a soap opera. And become America's hottest new actress.


External links

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Directed by Sydney Pollack
Produced by Sydney Pollack
Dick Richards
Written by Larry Gelbart
Barry Levinson (uncredited)
Elaine May (uncredited)
Murray Schisgal
from the story by Gelbart and Don McGuire
Starring Dustin Hoffman
Jessica Lange
Teri Garr
Dabney Coleman
Music by Dave Grusin (also songs)
Cinematography Owen Roizman
Editing by Fredric Steinkamp and William Steinkamp
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) December 17, 1982
Running time 119
Country United States
Language English
IMDb profile

Tootsie is a 1982 comedy movie from Columbia Pictures. It stars Dustin Hoffman as an struggling actor, who dresses as a woman and soon has a role in a soap opera.

Jessica Lange, another star of the movie, won an Academy Award for Best Actress.

The movie was number two in the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs list in 2000.

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