Life lessons: Miriam Margolyes on what life has taught her

One of Britain’s most beloved and playful actresses, Miriam Margolyes, also known as Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter films, was conceived during an air raid on Oxford in 1941.

She began acting while studying English at Cambridge University and has since found international fame for her roles on stage, television and film.

She has been with her partner, historian Heather Sutherland, since 1968. They share their time between London, Kent, Italy and Australia.

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


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

I am optimistic about…
King Charles, who I totally respect.

That he pisses me off…
All political. The government, the economy, the United States, the lack of kindness in general.

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

The habit that has served me the most in life…
A cheerful expression.

The habit I have successfully kicked…
None.

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

What motivates me the most is connecting with people.

When things get tough I…
Find the person who can fix it: a doctor, a carpenter, an electrician, or my dear friends.

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

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

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

What motivates me the most…
It is connecting with people.

My parents taught me…
To do the right thing.

I have this theory that…
It will NOT be okay.

I’d like to tell my younger self…
Wait until you are 80.