If he could have afforded it, my father would have been what John Mortimer might call a Champagne Socialist. He fought against Franco in the Spanish Civil War and belonged to a trade-union militia near Madrid. He had strong Marxist leanings but he really liked fine clothes, good food and wine.
He had a beautiful grey Prince of Wales check double-breasted suit. I remember being very covetous of it as a kid; it smelled of tobacco and was kind of grown up.
Clothes only became a big thing for me when I got into my teens, because I lusted after things I couldn't afford. The first item of clothing that I had a conscious desire for was a pair of Cuban-heeled boots. I was 10 years old, and I begged my mother to buy them. She said: "Don't be ridiculous!" It was heartbreaking.
In my late teens, I had a weekend job and used to save up my earnings. It was the first wave of the whole Ben Sherman thing, before it got discredited by the fascist skinhead movement. I was drawn to that style, the button-down collars and Levi's Sta-Prest trousers. All that stuff worn on hip American shows like Dr Kildare. There used to be a credit at the end of those shows like, "Mrs Sinatra's wardrobe by Botany 500". I was fascinated.
The irony is that now I can afford to go and buy nice stuff, fashion bores me stupid. When you hit a certain level of celebrity, you get invited to fashion shows, but I'd rather stick a hot needle in my eye. My attitude to clothes is on the practical side. I've got two really good, beautiful suits – one black Versace and a Hugo Boss and I look after them very carefully.
I'm not too concerned with looks, but of course, I'd like to lose some weight, be 30 years younger and good looking, but I'm very glad I've still got my hair, as my dad was bald as a coot by the time he was 21. Oh, and I have hair that grows in places where hair just shouldn't grow. Suddenly my eyebrows – though they've always been quite distinct – have started growing in all directions. If I'm not careful, I'll end up looking like Denis Healey.
A life in brief
Alfred Molina was born on 24 May 1953 in London, to a Spanish father and an Italian mother. A British film, television and theatre actor, he grew up in Notting Hill and attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His first major role, following a brief appearance in Raiders of the Lost Ark, was in Letter to Brezhnev, in 1985, followed in 1987 by Prick Up Your Ears. He played Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man 2, and starred in The Da Vinci Code and Frida. He lives in LA with his wife and their three children. The Hoax, in which Molina stars opposite Richard Gere, is available now on DVD.Reuse content