My Secret Life: Jonathan Pryce, actor, 62

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The Independent Online

My parents were ... hard to sum up really. They were both shopkeepers from the time they married. Before that, my father was a coal-miner; my mother rescued him from the mines.

The house/flat I grew up in ... was a very small bungalow in a village called Carmel, near Holywell in Wales. I was there all my childhood. I have fond memories of the house and the garden, and the fields and forests, quarries and countryside that surrounded it.

When I was a child I wanted to be ... As a child, a pop singer. When I left school, I wanted to be an artist, specifically a painter.

If I could change one thing about myself ... I would have become a painter.

You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at ... painting. Actually I tend to draw mostly these days; I do life-studies.

You may not know it but I'm no good at ... almost everything else.

At night I dream of ... sleep, because I am an insomniac. It tends to come in bouts, but these are usually lengthy, and it's been going on for a long time.

What I see when I look in the mirror ... I suppose I try to find things I like about myself, desperately. The older you get, the more you find yourself looking for things you used to see and liked when you were younger.

My favourite item of clothing ... is a scarf. I've got a lot of them.

The thing I wish I'd never worn ... anything from the Eighties.

I drive/ride ... an Audi A4 with low emissions and a stop-start facility. I'm working my way up to a hybrid. I also have a bike in my garden, waiting for the day to come when I decide to use it.

My house is ... a place I like to be.

My favourite building ... is my house, as I'm away a lot. Oddly enough, I'm not religious but I'm also very fond of St Peter's in Rome. When I'm there, I always know there's a good meal not far away.

A book that changed me ... I don't have one, and I don't read. I can confess it freely now. I'll read a book every now and then, but unlike most of my friends I don't always have one on the go.

My favourite work of art ... is a self-portrait by my son Patrick, which he did about six years ago when he was aged 20. He lives in New York now, so I miss him.

Movie heaven ... is something that makes me laugh. Sometimes I just want to laugh.

The last album I bought ... would have been Bob Dylan's 'Christmas In the Heart'. It's terrible. But I played it all over Christmas in the house, much to everyone's horror. 'Here Comes Santa Claus' is the best track.

My secret crush ... If I told you it wouldn't be a secret, would it?

My greatest regret ... is not having learnt to play a musical instrument, and not being forced to learn. I'd love to play the piano.

My real-life villain ... I try to see some good in everyone.

The person who really makes me laugh ... is Jerry Seinfeld.

The last time I cried ... I cry very easily. It was probably when I saw the snow melting out of my window this morning and realised I had to go to work.

My five-year plan ... is to live for the next five years.

What's the point? To love and be loved.

My life in six words ... Kate, Patrick, Gabriel, Phoebe, Mimi [the cat], joy [the noun].

A life in brief

Jonathan Pryce CBE was born in Holywell, Wales, in June 1947. A multi-award-winning actor, he made his name on stage before starring opposite Robert de Niro in Terry Gilliam's Brazil in 1985. His more recent film credits include the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Pryce has three children and lives with his wife Kate Fahy in north London. He stars in The Caretaker at London's Trafalgar Studios , which runs until 17 April. For tickets call 0844 871 7632