Miriam Margolyes, OBE (//; born 18 May 1941) is a British-Australian 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.
Margolyes in 2008
|Education||Oxford High School, Oxford|
|Alma mater||Newnham College, Cambridge|
|Mrs. Mingott in The Age of Innocence (1993)|
Voice of Fly the Border Collie in Babe (1995) and its 1998 sequel
Professor Pomona Sprout in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011)
|Television||Call the Midwife (2018–2019)|
Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (2012–2015)
Blackadder's Christmas Carol (1988)
Blackadder II (1986)
The Black Adder (1983)
Tales of the Unexpected (1980)
For many years she has divided her time between England and Australia, and she has starred in productions 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.
Margolyes was born in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, on 18 May 1941, 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 Newnham College, Cambridge, where she read English. There, in her twenties, she began acting and appeared in productions by the Cambridge Footlights comedy troupe. On The Graham Norton Show in 2011, she controversially revealed that whilst at Cambridge, she performed oral sex on an American soldier she had met. She represented the university in the first series of University Challenge, where she became the first person to use the 'f word' on British television.
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)'.
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 her 2011 interview on The Graham Norton Show, in regards to her fellow cast, Margoyles claimed that she liked Maggie Smith, but rather bluntly admitted that she, "Didn’t like the one that died", meaning Richard Harris, to great shock from the audience.
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.
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.
She played recurring character Prudence Stanley in the Australian-based TV series Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries from 2012 to 2015.
In January 2016, she appeared in The Real Marigold Hotel, a travel documentary in which a group of eight celebrities travel to India to see whether retirement would be more rewarding there than in the UK. 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.
In January 2018, Margolyes hosted a three-part series for the BBC titled Miriam's Big American Adventure, highlighting the citizens of the USA and the issues facing the nation.
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.
Margolyes is a lesbian. 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.
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, Italy, Kent and Robertson, New South Wales.
Margolyes is a pro Palestinian 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. “What I want to try to do is to get Jewish people to understand what’s really going on,” she has said, “and they don’t want to hear it. If you speak to most Jews and say ‘Can Israel ever be in the wrong?’ they say ‘No. Our duty as Jews is to support Israel whatever happens.’ And I don’t believe that. It is our duty as human beings to report the truth as we see it.”  Margolyes is a campaigner for a respite care charity, Crossroads.
Margolyes is a Labour Party member of the Vauxhall Constituency Labour Party. In August 2015, she was a signatory to a letter criticising The Jewish Chronicle's reporting of Jeremy Corbyn's association with alleged antisemites. In April 2016, she was one of 82 Jewish members and supporters of the Labour Party and of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership who wrote an open letter to The Guardian stating that they "do not accept that antisemitism is 'rife' in the Labour party" and that "these accusations are part of a wider campaign against the Labour leadership, and they have been timed particularly to do damage to the Labour party and its prospects in elections in the coming week."
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 that he has nothing against Margolyes and is a fan of her work.
TV and filmographyEdit
|1965||Theatre 625||Rita||1 episode ("Enter Solly Gold")|
|1967||Boy Meets Girl||Maria||1 episode|
|1968||Dixon of Dock Green||Anna||1 episode|
|1973||Doctor in Charge||Doris||1 episode|
|1974||World of Laughter||Various parts||TV series|
|1974||Fall of Eagles||Anna Vyrubova||TV miniseries|
|1975||Rime of the Ancient Mariner||Dorothy Wordsworth|
|1975||The Girls of Slender Means||Jane Wright||TV|
|1976||Christmas Box||Maurie Kaplan's Mother||TV|
|1976||Angels||June Morris||2 episodes|
|1976||Kizzy||Mrs Doe||2 episodes|
|1976||The Glittering Prizes||Olive Wise||TV miniseries|
|1976||The Battle of Billy's Pond||Tour Guide|
|1976–1982||Crown Court||Marilyn Munro (1976)
Mrs King (1982)
|1977||Play for Today||Veronica||1 episode|
|1977||Stand Up, Virgin Soldiers||Elephant Ethel|
|1978||Monkey||English dub of Japanese TV series Saiyûki|
|1978||On a Paving Stone Mounted|
|1980||The Lost Tribe||Queenie||TV miniseries|
|1980||The Awakening||Dr Kadira|
|1980||Tales of the Unexpected||Mary Burge||1 episode|
|1981||Reds||Woman writing in notebook||Uncredited|
|1981||Take a Letter, Mr. Jones||Maria||6 episodes|
|1981||A Kick Up the Eighties||Various roles||TV series|
|1981||The History Man||Melissa Tordoroff||TV|
|1983||The Black Adder||Infanta Maria Escalosa of Spain||1 episode|
|1984||Electric Dreams||Ticket Girl|
|1985||The Good Father||Jane Powell|
|1985||Oliver Twist||Mrs Corney||TV miniseries|
|1985||Morons from Outer Space||Doctor Wallace|
|1986||Little Shop of Horrors||Dental Nurse|
|1986||The Life and Loves of a She-Devil||Nurse Hopkins||2 episodes|
|1986||Blackadder II||Lady Whiteadder||1 episode|
|1986||A Little Princess||Miss Amelia||TV|
|1986||Scotch and Wry||Various||TV|
|1987||Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story||Elsa Maxwell||TV|
|1987||Body Contact||Tony's Mother|
|1988||Little Dorrit||Flora Finching|
|1988||Blackadder's Christmas Carol||Queen Victoria||TV|
|1988||Mr Majeika||Wilhelmina Worlock||TV series, Seasons 1 and 2|
|1989||Murderers Among Us: The Simon Wiesenthal Story||Mrs Rajzman||TV|
|1990||Orpheus Descending||Vee Talbot||TV|
|1990||I Love You to Death||Joey's Mother|
|1990||The Fool||Mrs Bowring|
|1991||Tonight at 8.30||Mrs Wadhurst||2 episodes|
|1991||The Butcher's Wife||Gina|
|1992||As You Like It||Audrey|
|1992||Frannie's Turn||Frannie Escobar||TV series|
|1993||The Age of Innocence||Mrs Mingott|
|1993||The Comic Strip Presents...||Mother||1 episode|
|1993||Ed and His Dead Mother||Mabel Chilton|
|1994||Just William||Miss Polliter||1 episode|
|1994||Immortal Beloved||Nanette Streicherová|
|1994||Moonacre||Old Elspeth||TV series|
|1995||Balto||Grandma Rosy/Extra Voices|
|1995||Babe||Fly the Female Sheepdog (voice)|
|1995||Cold Comfort Farm||Mrs Beetle||TV|
|1996||Different for Girls||Pamela|
|1996||Romeo + Juliet||The Nurse|
|1996||James and the Giant Peach||Aunt Sponge/Glowworm (voice)|
|1997||The IMAX Nutcracker||Sugar Plum|
|1997||Castle Ghosts of Wales||Hag ghost|
|1997||The Phoenix and the Carpet||Cook||TV miniseries|
|1997||The Place of Lions||Miss Cole||TV|
|1998||Babe: Pig in the City||Fly the Female Sheepdog (voice)|
|1998||Vanity Fair||Miss Crawley||TV miniseries|
|1998–2001||Rugrats||Shirley Finster||3 episodes: The Family Tree, Parts One and Two; Finsterella|
|1998||Mulan||The Matchmaker (voice)|
|1998||Left Luggage||Mrs Goldman|
|1998||The First Snow of Winter||Sean Seamus Aloysius Dermot Duck (voice)||UK version|
|1998||Supply & Demand||Edna||TV miniseries|
|1999||End of Days||Mabel|
|1999||Dreaming of Joseph Lees||Signora Caldoni|
|2000||Dharma & Greg||Chloe||1 episode|
|2001||Cats & Dogs||Sophie the Castle Maid|
|2001||Not Afraid, Not Afraid|
|2002||Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets||Professor Pomona Sprout|
|2002||Plots with a View||Thelma & Selma|
|2004||Agatha Christie's Marple: The Murder at the Vicarage||Mrs Price-Ridley||TV|
|2004||Being Julia||Dolly de Vries|
|2004||Ladies in Lavender||Dorcas|
|2004||The Life and Death of Peter Sellers||Peg Sellers|
|2004||End of the Line||Bag Lady|
|2005||Wallis & Edward||Aunt Bessie||TV|
|2005||Dickens in America||Herself||10 episodes|
|2006||Jam & Jerusalem||Mrs Midge||1 episode|
|2006||Happy Feet||Mrs Astrakhan (Voice)|
|2006||Flushed Away||Rita's Grandma (Voice)|
|2006||Sir Billi the Vet||Baroness Chantal McToff (voice)|
|2007||The Dukes||Aunt Vee|
|2008||How To Lose Friends and Alienate People||Mrs Kowalski||Film|
|2009||The Sarah Jane Adventures||Leef Slitheen-Blathereen||2 episodes: The Gift parts 1 and 2, Voice only|
|2010||Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole||Mrs Plithiver (voice)|
|2010||Tinga Tinga Tales||Giraffe and Squirrel (voice)|
|2010||Merlin||Grunhilda||Episode: "The Changeling"|
|2011||Doc Martin||Shirley||Guest appearance|
|2011||Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2||Professor Pomona Sprout|
|2012||The Wedding Video||Patricia|
|2012||The Guilt Trip||Anita|
|2012–2015||Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries||Aunt Prudence|
|2014||Maya the Bee||The Queen (voice)|
|2014||The Legend of Longwood||Lady Thyrza|
|2014||Nina Needs to Go!||Nana Sheila (voice)|
|2016||Plebs||Iona||Episode: "The Cupid"|
|2016||The Real Marigold Hotel||Herself||BBC TV documentary series|
|2016–2017||Bottersnikes and Gumbles||Weathersnike||3 episodes|
|2017||The Man Who Invented Christmas||Mrs Fisk|
|2017||Family Guy||Right Eyeball||Episode: "Emmy-Winning Episode"|
|2017||The Little Vampire 3D||Wulftrud (voice)|
|2018||Miriam's Big American Adventure||Herself||BBC TV documentary series|
|2018||Early Man||Queen Oofeefa (voice)|
|2018–present||Call the Midwife||Sister Mildred/Mother Mildred||Christmas Special|
|2018||Postcards from the 48%||Herself||Documentary|
- 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.
- Sydney & The Old Girl (Nell) – Park Theatre, London (2019)
- The Lady in the Van (Miss Shepherd) – Melbourne Theatre Company (2019)
- Madame Rubinstein (Helena Rubinstein) – Park Theatre, London (2017)
- The Importance of Being Miriam – Australian Tour (2015)
- I'll Eat You Last (Sue Mengers) – Melbourne Theatre Company (2014)
- Neighbourhood Watch (Ana) – Adelaide State Theatre (2014)
- Dickens' Women – World Tour (2012)
- A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (Grace) – Citizens' Theatre, Glasgow (2011)
- Me and My Girl (The Duchess) – Crucible Theatre, Sheffield (2010)
- Endgame (Nell) – Duchess Theatre, London (2009)
- Realism – Melbourne Theatre Company (2009)
- Wicked (Madame Morrible) – George Gershwin Theater, New York (2008)
- Wicked (Madame Morrible) – Apollo Victoria Theatre, London (2006)
- The Importance of Being Earnest (Miss Prism) – Ahmanson Theater, Los Angeles/BAM, New York (2006)
- Blithe Spirit (Madame Arcati) – Melbourne Theatre Company (2004)
- The Way of the World (Lady Wishfort) – Sydney Theatre Company (2003)
- The Vagina Monologues – Arts Theatre, London (2001)
- Romeo and Juliet (Nurse) – Ahmanson Theater, Los Angeles (2001)
- The Cherry Orchard (Madame Ranevskaya) – Theatre Royal, York (1999)
- The Killing of Sister George (June Buckridge) – Ambassadors' Theatre, London (1995)
- She Stoops to Conquer (Mrs Hardcastle) – Queen's Theatre, London (1993)
- Dickens' Women – Edinburgh Festival (1989)/Hampstead Theatre and Duke of York's Theatre, London (1991)
- Orpheus Descending (Vee Talbot) – Haymarket Theatre, London (1988)
- Man Equals Man (Widow Begbick) – Almeida Theatre, London (1987)
- Gertrude Stein and a Companion (Gertrude Stein) – International Tour (1986)
- 84 Charing Cross Road (Helen Hanff) – Colchester (1984)
- Flaming Bodies (Psychiatrist) – ICA (1979)
- Cloud Nine – Royal Court/Joint Stock Tour (1978)
- The White Devil – Old Vic Theatre, London (1976)
- Kennedy's Children – Arts Theatre, London (1975)
- Canterbury Tales (Wife of Bath) – Bristol Old Vic (1974)
- Threepenny Opera – Piccadilly Theatre, London (1972)
- Fiddler on the Roof (Matchmaker) – UK Tour (1970)
Awards and nominationsEdit
- Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for Services to Drama, 2002 New Year Honours
- Winner: Theatregoer's Choice Awards 2010 Best Supporting Actress in a Play for Nell in Endgame
- Winner: Theatregoer's Choice Awards 2007 Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for Madame 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)
- Margolyes, Miriam. "Miriam Margolyes » Bio". Miriam Margolyes' official website.
- Empire. "Miriam Margolyes". Empire. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
- Miriam Margolyes Biography (1941–). Filmreference.com. Retrieved 26 August 2011.
- "Harry Potter actress Miriam Margolyes on her Gorbals roots, women in comedy and how Monty Python stars shunned her". The Daily Record. 2 November 2011. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
- Farndale, Nigel (11 October 2009). "Miriam Margolyes: 'I'm still a naughty schoolgirl at heart'". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- Chitra Ramaswamy (6 August 2012). "As Miriam Margolyes prepares to perform her one-woman show, dedicated to the women in the victorian novelist's fiction, she reflects on her own fascinating life story". The Scotsman.
- Famous alumnae. Newn.cam.ac.uk. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
- Footlights Alumni Archived 14 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Footlights.org. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
- "The Graham Norton Show: The 15 funniest guests". The Telegraph. 29 September 2017.
- "Enough Rope". Retrieved 5 January 2011.
- Helen Sims (30 November 2007). "Miriam Margolyes on Dickens' Women". The Lumière Reader. Archived from the original on 23 April 2008. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
- "Margolyes: Voice of a movie star" 31 December 2001, BBC News
- Leah O'Brien (11 May 2010). "At home with Harry Potter star, Miriam Margolyes – Local News – News – Entertainment". Southern Highland News. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
- "The Graham Norton Show: the 15 funniest guests". The Telegraph. 29 September 2017. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
- Margolyes to Join Broadway's Wicked Jan. 22. Playbill.com. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- Brief Encounter With … Miriam Margolyes – Endgame at Duchess Theatre – London – Interviews. Whatsonstage.com. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- Jennifer Wolfe (13 December 2013). "Disney Junior Greenlights 'Nina Needs to Go'". Animation World Network.
- 02:10. "BBC Two – The Real Marigold Hotel". BBC. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
- "The Real Marigold on Tour – BBC Two". BBC.
- "Lady C and the Castle". Archived from the original on 16 September 2016. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
- "The Real Marigold on Tour gets a "bumper" BBC1 run". RadioTimes. 24 August 2017. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
- "Miriam's Big American Adventure – BBC One". BBC. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
- Celebrity supporters | Miriam Margolyes Archived 23 October 2008 at Archive.today. Sense. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
- Michael Church (15 January 2012). "Album: Yale Strom and Hot Pstromi, The Devil's Brides: Yiddish and Klezmer Song (Arc Music) – Reviews – Music". The Independent. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
- Desert Island Discs – 28 September 2008 – Miriam Margolyes. BBC. (28 September 2008). Retrieved 25 August 2011.
- Late Night Live – 10September2007 – Miriam Margolyes and Dickens' Women. Abc.net.au (10 September 2007). Retrieved 25 August 2011.
- Groves, Nancy (6 November 2014). "Miriam Margolyes: 'I do say things possibly other people don't say'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
- Property Observer, "Andrew Denton and Jennifer Byrne blaze a trail to Southern Highlands retreat". Retrieved 7 December 2015
- 'Sharon Verghis, "Miriam Margolyes: The ultimate character actress for Dickens", 'The Australian, 4 February 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2015
- Gabriella Coslovich, "Lunch with Miriam Margolyes", Canberra Times, 7 April 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2015
- Jane Cadzow, "Miss Margolyes Mysteries"
- Lyell, Carrie (09 February 2016). "Miriam Margolyes: My Mother Was Utterly Appalled When I Came Out" Archived 3 August 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Diva Magazine. UK. Retrieved on 05 Aug 2016.
- "At home with Harry Potter star Miriam Margolyes" 11 May 2010, Southern Highland News
- "Emma Thompson bids for Palestinian Rights Enough!" 27 January 2007, Electronic Intifada
- "JFJFP Signatories" Jews for Justice for Palestinians Signatory List 11 August 2012
- The Guardian, 5 November, 2014 
- Dysch, Marcus (18 August 2015). "Anti-Israel activists attack JC for challenging Jeremy Corbyn". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
- "Labour, antisemitism and where Jeremy Corbyn goes from here". The Guardian. 29 April 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
- Tim Walker, David Walliams: Miriam Margolyes is the real-life Awful Auntie, The Telegraph, 2 October 2014.
- Truitt, Brian (23 June 2010). "'Merlin' star Colin Morgan talks dragons and guest stars". USA Weekend. Archived from the original on 7 August 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
- "No. 56430". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2001. p. 11.