All his life Alan Ladd was said to be unhappy about his 5’6″ height. He was supposed to be a strapping leading man and heroic figure, and almost every film he made (including Shane) he had to stand on boxes. He felt like a shrimp. Then again James Cagney was only 5’5″, a perfect illustration of the maxim that it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, etc.

If your reputation precedes you, people tend to assume that you’re larger than life on some level, and that corresponds to an assumption that you might be physically larger than you actually are.

Look at Elizabeth Taylor as she walks out to greet Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon on 2.21.92. She’s so tiny that she complains right away that her feet can’t touch the floor when she sits in the guest chair. She was actually 5’2″ — the same height as the hobbit-sized Mickey Rooney and Debbie Reynolds**. Reynolds’ husband Eddie Fisher left her for Taylor in ’58, and Fisher…good God, he was only 5’5″! Same as Cagney, shorter than Ladd. Taylor gave Fisher the heave-ho when she began her affair with Richard Burton during the filming of Cleopatra in ’62: RB towered over both of them at 5’10” — eight inches taller than Taylor, five over Fisher.

Fisher to Taylor on the set of Cleopatra: “Who’s that big guy?” Taylor to Fisher: “What’s wrong with you…that’s Richard Burton!” Fisher to Taylor: “Oh.”

** Carrie Fisher was 5’1″.