“I Insured My Voice for $1,000,000.” “Wonderful! What Did You Do with the Money?”

Miriam Hopkins? Apocryphal?
hopkins01Dear Quote investigator: While watching the television show “The Voice” a friend told me about an entertaining zinger. One singer was trying to impress another singer by describing an insurance policy:

Singer 1: “I Insured My Voice for One Million Dollars.”
Singer 2: “Wonderful! What Did You Do with the Money?”

A version of this rejoinder has been attributed to the actress Miriam Hopkins. Would you explore this tale to determine the participants?

Quote Investigator: The earliest evidence of this anecdote located by QI was printed in a Boston, Massachusetts newspaper in October 1936 which acknowledged a correspondent in Rome, Italy. The first participant in the repartee was male and was only identified as a “famous singer”. The short item was grouped with a collection of jokes in a humor column called “In Lighter Vein”. The value of the insurance policy was denominated in British pounds: 1

“I insured my voice,” stated the famous singer, “for £50,000.” “And what,” asked his rival, “have you done with the money?”—Marc Aurelio (Rome).

The same comical tale was printed in “The Literary Digest” of New York, “The Era” newspaper of Bradford, Pennsylvania, and the “Chester Times” of Chester, Pennsylvania in October 1936. 2 3 4 The three periodicals credited Marc Aurelio of Rome.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading “I Insured My Voice for $1,000,000.” “Wonderful! What Did You Do with the Money?”


  1. 1936 October 6, Christian Science Monitor, In Lighter Vein: Oof!, Quote Page 15, Column 6, Boston, Massachusetts. (ProQuest)
  2. 1936 October 10, The Literary Digest, Volume 122, Number 15, The Spice of Life, Start Page 48, Quote Page 48, Column 2, Published by Funk & Wagnalls Company, New York. (Unz)
  3. 1936 October 14, The Era (Bradford Era), Morning Musings, Quote Page 4, Column 2, Bradford, Pennsylvania. (NewspaperArchive)
  4. 1936 October 26, Chester Times, So They Say, Quote Page 15, Column 1, Chester, Pennsylvania. (NewspaperArchive)