Saturday, June 18, 2016

Miriam Margolyes / This much I know / ‘I adore being Jewish but I’m not a believer in God’

Miriam Margolyes
Photograph by Andy Gotts
Miriam Margolyes: 

 ‘I adore being Jewish 

but I’m not a believer in God’

‘People think I'm funny and fluffy but I can switch on a sixpence to utter despair'

This much I know

The actor, 75, on being a lesbian, her regret at not losing weight, and, like, sloppy use of the English language

Shahesta Shaitly
Saturday 18 June 2016 14.00 BST

Confidence was the backbone of my upbringing. I was an only child, so I was spoilt, loved and given an enormous amount of confidence by my parents. Neither were confident themselves: my mother was uneducated and felt inferior. She was determined that I would go to university. She’d say, “I want you to be able to talk to anybody about anything” – and I can.
There’s a strong melancholic streak in me. People tend to think I’m funny and fluffy, but I can switch on a sixpence from extreme happiness to utter despair. I’m aware that doesn’t make it easy for people sometimes.
My mother died of a stroke in 1974, and for a long time I blamed myself. She was utterly devastated when I told her I was a lesbian not long before. My parents couldn’t understand it – they were disgusted – but continued to love me. I just thought, “This is what I am, let’s get on with it.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger is a pig of a man. We worked together [on the blockbuster End of Days] in 1999, and although he was relatively professional with me – because he didn’t fancy me – he was awfully gropey with women he was interested in. He thought a lot of himself, but I wasn’t surprised: he was a bodybuilder from Austria who went on to became a worldwide star.

Miriam Margolyes
Photo by John Swannell

I adore being Jewish but I’m not a believer in God. Jewish people dislike me intensely because I’m pro-Palestine. I just endeavour to do good and cross barriers, and I don’t feel sorry about that at all.
Lazy, imprecise thought is a bore. The prolific use of the word “like” is the most annoying example I can think of. It’s a sign of a sloppy mental process.
JK Rowling is a fabulous woman. And I just love the fact that the richest woman in Britain is a writer – what a brilliant state of affairs. But Harry Potter didn’t make me rich [Margolyes played Professor Pomona Sprout]: I was pleasantly paid, and it was just extraordinary to be a part of something that will mean generations of children know who I am.
Miriam Margolyes

I can’t bear children. I support children’s charities, I just don’t want them around me. It’s not very admirable, but it’s the truth.
Marriage is for straight people. I’ve been with my partner Heather for 48 years – although she lives in Holland and I live in England. We’ve had a civil partnership, but the thought of referring to one another as “wife” makes me feel sick. I don’t understand why gay people are so anxious to get married.
I should have lost weight when I was younger. I’m a fat woman and to be 75 and fat is just stupid. I feel very silly for not being able to do it. It’s one of my greatest regrets.
Miriam Margolyes voices Where Is Peter Rabbit? at the Old Laundry Theatre, Bowness-on-Windermere, 27 June-4 September

Miriam Margolyes / ‘I adore being Jewish but I’m not a believer in God’
Carlos Santana /  War is not the answer
Carlos Santana  / ‘You can get high on what’s within you’
Georgia May Jagger / ‘With modelling, sometimes you’re punky, other times girly and sweet’
Tom Jones  / I might have become a miner like my father 
Tom Jones / ‘Fame allows you to release things that were already in you. It’s like drink in that respect’

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