My Secret Life: Michael Winner, writer & film-maker, 75


My parents were ... My father was an angel. My mother was dangerous and mad, but adorable.

The house/flat I grew up in ... was in Lancaster Gate, next to Hyde Park. Outside my window there would be anti-aircraft guns, barrage balloons and searchlights as the Germans attacked.

If I could change one thing about myself ... I would control occasional flashes of temper that are close to total hysteria.

You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at ... I am immensely kind to people who have been good to me.

You may not know it but I'm no good at ... dinner parties – something has to be fascinating for me to want to leave the house. Most dinner parties are boring.

At night I dream that ... I am under threat and flying to get out of danger by pulling on a rope. But the danger never seems to recede.

What I see when I look in the mirror ... I used to see a big fat slob, but since I dieted I see someone approaching a human being.

My favourite item of clothing ... is my pyjamas. I wear them to posh restaurants. My adorable fiancée does not approve.

I drive/ride ... either a 1975 Bentley or a convertible 1992 Rolls-Royce Corniche. And I am driven in a 1966 Rolls-Royce Phantom, such as the Queen uses a lot.

My house is ... very grand. I am leaving it to the nation as a museum. The best thing in it is my fiancée Geraldine. I don't think she wants to be left to the nation.

My favourite building ... is my house: it has 46 rooms, a swimming pool, gym and a cinema. I don't need to leave it. I am an English version of Howard Hughes, really.

A book that changed me ... 'Walter the Farting Dog', the first book for years that I read from start to finish. It is marvellously written and totally unpretentious.

Movie heaven ... would be – in my own cinema – watching the best film in the entire history of the medium: 'The Third Man'.

The last album I bought ... was 'The Best of Johnnie Ray'. He is an incredible singer from the 1950s – a more orderly Elvis Presley.

My eternal crush ... is the lady who was in my first film in 1957, who I saw intermittently for decades and who, after many years, agreed to marry me: Geraldine Lynton-Davies. She is very beautiful and posh ... and I'm very common. It is a good mix.

My greatest regret ... is that I was so busy being a Jack the Lad film director and shafting all the girls that I didn't give enough time and consideration to my parents while they were alive. Now they've gone and nothing I do can make up for that.

My real-life villain ... I'm sorry to say – one should not speak ill of the dead – but it is [the actor and singer] Adam Faith. I think he was not the cheerful cockney. He was unscrupulous, disloyal, money-grabbing and worst of all, inept.

The person who really makes me laugh ... is Michael McIntyre. But I was friends with Tommy Cooper and Bob Hope, and am still with John Cleese. It's a wonderful thing to provide to the human spirit with laughter.

The last time I cried ... was not long ago. I am always moved by joy or suffering.

My five-year plan ... is to stay alive. If I can do that then I really will have won.

What's the point? It's to help others and give amusement. If you can put some fun into the world, you ain't done badly.

My life in six words ... chaotic would have to be one.

A life in brief

Michael Winner was born in London on 30 October 1935. As a film director and producer, he created numerous colourful titles including the 'Death Wish' series starring Charles Bronson. More recently he has reinvented himself as an outspoken television personality and globe-trotting restaurant critic. 'Michael Winner's Dining Stars' starts on Friday 26 February on ITV1 at 9pm

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the world's leading suppliers and manuf...

Recruitment Genius: Multiple Apprentices Required

£6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Apprentices are required to join a privat...

Sauce Recruitment: HR Manager

£40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: This is an exciting opportunity for a HR...

Ashdown Group: Interim HR Manager - 3 Month FTC - Henley-on-Thames

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established organisation oper...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness