It's really hard being old - it's horrible.

Miriam Margolyes

Miriam Margolyes

Profession: Actress
Nationality: British

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I refused to be filmed getting off a bus twice. The director said, 'I'm an award-winning director. Please do it', and I said, 'I never thought I'd say this, but I'm an award-winning actress with a bad leg, and if your film depends on seeing me get in and out of a bus, we're in trouble.'

It makes me very sad. Everyone's afraid of each other - Jews are afraid of Palestinians, Palestinians are afraid of Jews. Everywhere I see fear, not understanding. Reason went out of the window a long time ago.

It's very hard to talk about Palestine to Jewish people - they see me as a betrayer.

It's shameful to admit, but it's been a bit of a lifelong affair, and I do now feel I'm as good as it gets. I'm honourable, kind, friendly, warm, intelligent, generous, and I've got a good sense of humour.

I know that a lot of my life is spent thinking about crisps and eating crisps and hating myself for eating crisps. It's just not worth it. Or it wouldn't be if crisps weren't so delicious.

I wouldn't consider retiring to India: there are too many people, and it's difficult walking along the pavements. I'd love to spend two or three months a year there.

As long as I am working, I am grateful and happy.

I'm a silly little needy person sometimes, and I crouch in a room all alone and think of all the people that I wish were with 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.

Mummy was absolutely the rock in my life. It was not that I didn't love my father; he was such a quiet man, and she was not. She was the most vivid person I have ever known. She was accomplished and brave and fearless. She used to say to me, 'I want you to be able to talk to anyone about anything.'

Old people have a much better time in India because they're respected.

One of the worst things about ageing is the waning of your physical powers. I live in a house with 64 stairs, and I cannot run up and down them any more; my knee has conked out.

I very much regret that I haven't been taken more seriously. I would love to have been at the National or the RSC.

Where I think the American actor is slightly at a disadvantage is in vocal technique. I don't think that words are their friend in the same way that English actors are used to using words: understanding about consonance and how to shade a vowel to show emotional color.