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Life lessons: Miriam Margolyes on what life has taught her

From King Charles to her beloved cats, the Harry Potter actor tells us what makes her feel optimistic about life — and what she has learned

From King Charles to her beloved cats, the Harry Potter actor tells us what makes her feel optimistic about life — and what she has learned

One of Britain’s best loved and most gleefully outspoken actors, Miriam Margolyes – AKA Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter films – was conceived during an air raid in Oxford in 1941.

She began acting while studying English at Cambridge University, and has since found international fame for her roles across stage, TV and film. She has been with her partner, historian Heather Sutherland, since 1968. They divide their time between London, Kent, Italy and Australia.

She tells Positive News why the new King Charles makes her feel optimistic about life, and shares the key lessons she has learnt in her 81 years.

My morning ritual is…
An immediate wee and turning to my mobile phone for emails and messages. I’m in Australia, so I need to turn back the clock.

I feel optimistic about…
King Charles, whom I totally respect.

What makes me angry…
Everything political. The government, the economy, America, general unkindness.

If I wasn’t an actor, I would have liked to become…
A probation officer.

The habit that has served me best in life…
A cheery expression.

The habit I’ve successfully kicked…

My sources of joy are…
My partner, chopped liver, my cats Abu and Tilly, and my friends. And Charles Dickens.

The thing that motivates me most of all is connecting to people

When things get tough I…
Look for the person who can fix it – a doctor, a carpenter, an electrician, or my loving friends.

The book I wish everyone would read…
Bleak House, by Charles Dickens.

The big thing I’ve changed my mind about in life…
Israel. I started life as a Zionist. No longer.

What keeps me awake at night…
Fear of having a stroke like my mother.

The thing that motivates me most of all…
Is connecting to people.

My parents taught me…
To do the Right Thing.

I have this theory that…
It’s NOT going to be alright.

I’d like to tell my younger self…
Wait till you’re 80.

Main image: Claire Sutton

This Much is True by Miriam Margolyes is out now, published by Hachette. This interview was released for the latest issue of Positive News magazine, which was published before the coronation of King Charles.


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