God didn’t want me to be too famous, too young.

66 year old Duke Ellington, after being asked about not getting the 1965 Pulitzer Prize for music – in fact, no prize for music was given that year.

This is what i remember Duke saying on a TV show one time, and also recounted by Nat Hentoff in the film Jazz.

A variation that’s more common is, “Fate doesn’t want me to be too famous too young.” This quote appears in the 24 December 1986 edition of The Christian Science Monitor, given as Duke’s response after the awards  – he died in 1974.