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Miriam Margolyes

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Miriam Margolyes

Miriam Margolyes httpslh4googleusercontentcom96UwP8Ehgs4AAA

18 May 1941 (age 83) (
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England

British (1941–present), Australian (2013–present)

Character actress ·

Joseph Margolyes, Ruth Margolyes

Movies and TV shows
Harry Potter and the Cham, Babe, Miss Fisher's Murder M, Harry Potter and the Death, The Age of Innocence

Similar People
Ashleigh Cummings, Essie Davis, Paul Terry, Simon Callow, Nathan Page


Miriam margolyes in confidence 2012

Miriam Margolyes, OBE (; born 18 May 1941) is an English character actress and voice artist. Her earliest roles were in theatre and after several supporting roles in film and television she won a BAFTA Award for her role in The Age of Innocence (1993) and went on to take the role of Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter film series.


Miriam Margolyes Interview Miriam Margolyes star of Dickens39 Women

For many years she has divided her time between England and Australia, and she has starred in television shows in both countries, including the Australian premiere of the 2013 play I'll Eat You Last. In 2013 she became an Australian citizen, thereby holding dual British and Australian citizenship.

Miriam Margolyes A love affair now strengthened by citizenship

Miriam Margolyes Shocks With Story About Laurence Olivier - The Graham Norton Show

Early life

Miriam Margolyes Culture clinic Miriam Margolyes Telegraph

Margolyes was born in Oxford, England, the only child of Ruth (née Walters; 1905–1974), a property investor and developer, and Joseph Margolyes (1899–1995), a physician from Glasgow. She grew up in a Jewish family; her ancestors migrated to the UK from Poland and Belarus. Her great-grandfather, Symeon Sandmann, was born in the town of Margonin in central-western Poland, which Margolyes visited in 2013.

She attended Oxford High School from 1955 until 1959, and later Newnham College, Cambridge, where she read English. There, in her twenties, she began acting and appeared in productions by the Cambridge Footlights comedy troupe.

Acting career

With her distinctive voice, Margolyes first gained recognition for her work as a voice artist. In the 1970s she recorded a soft-porn audio called Sexy Sonia: Leaves from my Schoolgirl Notebook. She performed most of the supporting female characters in the dubbed Japanese action TV series Monkey. She also worked with the theatre company Gay Sweatshop and provided voiceovers in the Japanese TV series The Water Margin (credited as Mirium Margolyes).

She plays recurring character Prudence Stanley in the Australian-based TV series Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.

In 1974, she appeared with Kenneth Williams and Ted Ray in the BBC Radio 2 comedy series The Betty Witherspoon Show.

Margolyes' first major role in a film was as Elephant Ethel in Stand Up, Virgin Soldiers (1977). In the 1980s, she made appearances in Blackadder opposite Rowan Atkinson: these roles include the Spanish Infanta in The Black Adder, Lady Whiteadder in Blackadder II and Queen Victoria in Blackadder's Christmas Carol. In 1986 she played a major supporting role in the BBC drama The Life and Loves of a She-Devil. She won the 1989 LA Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Flora Finching in the 1988 film Little Dorrit. On American television, she headlined the short-lived 1992 CBS sitcom Frannie's Turn. In 1994 she won the BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mrs Mingott in Martin Scorsese's The Age of Innocence (1993).

Margolyes came to the notice of younger audiences when she starred as Aunt Sponge in James and the Giant Peach (1996); she also provided the voice of the Glowworm in the same film. During the same time she played the Nurse in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet (1996). Around this time, she voiced the rabbit character in the animated commercials for Cadbury's Caramel bars and provided the voice of Fly the dog in the Australian-American family film Babe (1995).

She played Professor Sprout in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in 2002.

In 2004, Margolyes played the role of Peg Sellers, the mother of Peter Sellers, in the Golden Globe winning film The Life and Death of Peter Sellers.

She was one of the original cast of the London production of the musical Wicked in 2006, playing Madame Morrible opposite Idina Menzel, a role she also played on Broadway in 2008.

In 2009, she appeared in a new production of Endgame by Samuel Beckett at the Duchess Theatre in London's West End.

Margolyes voiced the role of Mrs. Plithiver, a blind snake in 3D-animated-epic film Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole in 2010. Margolyes reprised her role as Professor Sprout in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 in 2011.

In 2014, she voiced Nana in the Disney Junior animated series for preschoolers Nina Needs to Go!

In January 2016, she appeared in The Real Marigold Hotel, a travel documentary series which "takes an all-star cast on the journey of a lifetime." The series was reprised for two Christmas Specials The Real Marigold On Tour, from Florida and Kyoto.

She narrated the 2016 ITV documentary about Lady Colin Campbell entitled Lady C and the Castle.

Other work

Margolyes is a supporter of Sense (the National Deafblind and Rubella Association) and was the host at the first Sense Creative Writing Awards, held at the Charles Dickens Museum in London in December 2006, where she read a number of works written by talented deafblind people.

She has also been the patron of Trinity Community Arts Centre in Bristol since 2014 where she recently held 'A night with Miriam' comedy event to raise funds for its Youth Activities programme.

In 2011, Margolyes recorded a narrative for the album The Devil's Brides by klezmer musician-ethnographer Yale Strom.

In January 2014, it was announced that Margolyes was to record the narration for "Magic in the Skies" – the summer season of firework displays held at Land's End.

In 2017, she recorded two songs for the album Wit & Whimsy - Songs by Alexander S. Bermange (one solo and one featuring all of the album's 23 artists), which reached No. 1 on the iTunes comedy album chart.

Personal life

Margolyes is a lesbian. Since 1967 her partner has been Heather Sutherland, a retired Australian Professor of Indonesian Studies. Formerly based in Amsterdam, Margolyes divides her time between homes in London, Tuscany and Robertson, New South Wales. She has no children.

Margolyes appeared on the British television quiz University Challenge in 1963, whilst at Cambridge University. As part of a BBC documentary, University Challenge: The Story so Far, she claimed that during her appearance she swore after getting a question wrong, although the actual word was bleeped out of the recording.

Margolyes is also a humanitarian advocate. She is a Palestinian human rights activist, having been a member of the British-based ENOUGH! coalition that seeks "a just settlement between Israelis and Palestinians". She is also a signatory of Jews for Justice for Palestinians. Margolyes is a campaigner for a respite care charity, Crossroads.

Margolyes is a lifelong admirer of the works of Charles Dickens and has performed all over the world a one-woman show, Dickens' Women, in which she plays 23 characters from Dickens' novels.

Author and comedian David Walliams says he used Margolyes as a model for the title character in his children's book Awful Auntie after a rude exchange with the actress during a stage production. He stresses however that he has nothing against Margolyes and is a fan of her work.

On becoming an Australian citizen, on Australia Day 2013, Margolyes referred to herself as a "dyke" live on national television and in front of the then Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.

Margolyes caused controversy in 2016 at Edinburgh Waverley railway station when she asked a man to give up a seat only for him to refuse, pointing out there was another one nearby. By her own admission, she then swore at the man and poured a bottle of water over him.


  • The Thief and the Cobbler (1993) – the voice of the Maiden from Mombasa (original version only; the character was not heard at all in the re-edited versions and another actor was never available in all the re-edited versions).
  • The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004) – Peg Sellers – note this film was shown in cinemas in the UK and Australia – it aired on cable television on the HBO network in the US.
  • Awards and nominations

  • Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for Services to Drama, 2002
  • Winner: Theatregoer's Choice Awards 2007 Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for Madam Morrible in Wicked
  • Winner: Audiofile's Earphones Award 2001 for A Christmas Carol
  • Winner: Prix Jeunesse Best Children's Programme (0–6 fiction) 2000 for The First Snow of Winter
  • Winner: The Talkies Performer Of The Year 1997 for Oliver Twist
  • Winner: Sony Radio Awards Best Actress On Radio 1993 for The Queen and I
  • Winner: BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role 1993 for The Age of Innocence
  • Nominated: Olivier Award for Best Entertainment 1991 for Dickens' Women
  • Winner: Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle 1989 Best Supporting Actress for Little Dorrit (shared with Geneviève Bujold)
  • References

    Miriam Margolyes Wikipedia

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