My Secret Life: Felicity Kendal, actress, 61
Saturday 23 February 2008
The house/flat I grew up in.... was a mixture of hostels, dark bungalows, hotels, guest houses, palaces and railway stations. Until I was 20, I had no fixed home.
When I was a child I wanted to be... ordinary. There was nothing about my life that was that normal, I spent my childhood attending different schools and travelling the world with a group of actors.
The moment that changed me for ever ... was when my first child was born, in 1973. I became a different person as all my values changed; suddenly there was someone in my life more important than myself.
My greatest inspiration....is my mother. She was a very independent woman who worked hard, had a lot of moral fibre, was very well educated, amusing and had a great sense of enjoying life.
My real-life villain ... is Hitler. Though he's dead, he's still pretty alive in some ways. I imagine he'd get a few votes.
If I could change one thing about myself ... it would definitely be my bad eyesight. I have a stigma which means I suffer both long and short-sightedness. Oh for 20/20 vision.
At night I dream of ... very little. I rarely dream these days but when I do, it tends to be when I'm stressed and the subject focuses around what's going on in my life. It's rather unsettling.
What I see when I look in the mirror ....I see nothing much, everything's rather fuzzy without the assistance of a magnifying glass. With the aid of such a tool, I'd see a close-up of eyes applying mascara.
My style icon.... is the Maharini of Jaipur, Gayatri Devi. I remember seeing her when I was a child and thinking she looked and smelled beautiful; she was the most exquisite looking creature, stunning in her youth, and with age has retained amazing poise and grace.
My favourite item of clothing ... is a very old black linen man's waistcoat, which my son wore as a child, and I still wear now. It was second-hand when I bought it and has his name tag sewn onto the label.
I wish I'd never worn ... either of my wedding dresses, which were both ghastly. It's a good enough reason not to marry again.
It's not fashionable but I like ... cargo pants. They're very much done and over if you're of that way of thinking, but I just love them.
You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at ... parking. I can get a car in pretty much any space with inches to spare.
You may not know it but I'm no good at ... tolerating rudeness. I try to be very nice at all times, but I just cannot tolerate rudeness, be it big, small, posh or public, it causes me to give an exaggerated response to people.
All my money goes on ... things, all sorts of things; some are necessary and some are not. I'm a bit of a hoarder but tend to buy things for others in the main.
If I have time to myself ... walk the dog or pluck my eyebrows.
I drive/ride ... a Black Jeep Cherokee and love to ride a bicycle given half the chance, but I'm rarely without dog, shopping or child, which makes balancing rather tricky.
My house/flat is ... for now. Bricks and mortar are not where security lies, well not for me; they never have been.
My most valuable possession is ... my family. I try not to attach too much value to material things, you can do without those.
My favourite building ...is my house in the country, it's the only building I actually think I would like to be around indefinitely. It's not particularly beautiful or grand in any way, but it's the closest to what I'd call home.
Movie heaven ... is popcorn and Some Like it Hot. The film is like popcorn, light and enjoyable; it's a marvellous relief. Though there are wonderful gruelling films, you don't want to revisit them regularly. I tend to like things that make the sun come out.
A book that changed me ... is Sheila Kitzinger's book on natural childbirth. It gave me the courage to do what I wanted to do, in the face of doctors trying to shout me down.
My favourite works of art ... are my two granddaughters.
The last album I bought/downloaded ... is by Israel kamakanino'ole, who is sadly now dead. He was a rather enormous singer, literally, who did this slow, jazzy version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow which is heaven on earth.
The person who really makes me laugh... is my ex-husband. He's an American Jew and that typical type of humour gets me any time of day or night, it's just sublime.
The shop I can't walk past is ... my chemist.
The best invention ever ... is the wheel, I guess; from that we have all the things we need and use. And without it I'd be minus my Jeep.
In ten years time, I hope to be ... alive.
My greatest regret ... I object to the concept of regret. You can regret hurting people, perhaps, but then something else wouldn't have happened. We should come to terms with something we've done and say sorry, but really we've got to keep moving forward. Roll on, that's why we invented the wheel!
My life in seven words ... apart from the tragedies: it is fucking marvellous, I would say.
Felicity Kendal CBE was born in Warwickshire on 25 September 1946. An actress, she is still perhaps best known for her role in the Seventies sitcom, The Good Life. She grew up as part of a family acting troupe, travelling around India, n experience on which the 1965 film Shakespeare-Wallah was based. She had two sons by her first husband, Drewe Henley, and a third by er second husband, the director Michael Rudman, before they split. She was Tom Stoppard’s partner in the Nineties before reuniting with Rudman, with whom she now lives in London. She stars in The Vortex at the Apollo Theatre (08708901101)
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