Out actress Miriam Margolyes is best known for her role as Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter series, but her homophobic parents didn’t need magic to try to “pray the gay away.”
“People who were gay were pitied and ridiculed by my parents – they had no modern sense of people being allowed to be who they were. And I didn’t tell my parents, in fact, until I was something like 27. My mother was utterly appalled and disgusted… and she told my father, although I didn’t want her to.
She told him, because they shared everything, and they made me swear on the Bible in the drawing room, in the most formal way, that I would never sleep with a woman again. Extraordinary really, as my father was a doctor and in many ways he was an enlightened man especially around racism. But about homosexuality… never!”
Fortunately, she embraced her sexuality with, as she says, “as much joy and delight as I’ve embraced everything else in my life.” Good for her.
We’ve been fans since she played the nurse in William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet (and somehow knew there was no way a straight actress could’ve brought that level of camp to the role).
Margolyes has been with her partner for nearly 50 years (!), and if her IMDB page is any indication, this septuagenarian lesbian isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
Listen to the full interview below, and hope you’ve got half as much passion and love to spare when you’re in your 70s.