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: HR Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HR Consultancy - £65,000 OTE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas