Early test? My first important exam was for Marr College in Troon, Ayrshire. I was 11, although you were supposed to be 12, but it was rather important that I got in at the same time as my three best friends. It wasn't, in fact, a state school, but you didn't pay because it had been endowed by a local benefactor in a previous century.
The result? We all got into the RAS class, which was mixed, and did Latin, Maths and Science. RBS was girls only and RCS was for boys; they didn't do Latin, but domestic science and woodwork instead. RDS and RES didn't do languages.
A long run? The school provided a very good education but after two years, because of tensions at home, I went to Wispers, a boarding school in Sussex. I was removed - virtually expelled - from here after a year for being out of bounds, and swimming after midnight; there was also a long history of midnight feasts. I then went to East Haddon Hall in Northamptonshire.
Next exam? Six O-levels at 15: two English, History, French, Art and Latin.
Glittering prizes? I got the Geography prize. I didn't do it for O-level but I liked maps.
Last exam? At 16 I took three A-levels, which you needed for the drama school in Glasgow where I intended to go. But by this time my mother had separated from my stepfather and gone to London, so I auditioned for RADA instead. I did a speech from St Joan and a passage from Alice in Wonderland.
Prize student? At RADA I won the Comedy Prize - pounds 5 - and the award for Most Promising Student - pounds 50. Quite soon after leaving RADA I was asked to come back to make a speech and give away prizes. It was awful, deeply embarrassing; a lot of the students were older than me.
Grands prix? At school I got the French Acting Cup (but not the Acting Cup). Since then I have translated and performed plays in French; I've been decorated by the French government with a medal from its Office des Arts et des Lettres.
Big Prizes? I was nominated in 1969 for an Oscar for They Shoot Horses, Don't They? for which I got the BAFTA Best Supporting Actress. In 1972 I was Best Actress at Cannes for the Robert Altman film Images.
Epilogue? The summer before last I performed one of my RADA audition passages - to an empty theatre. I was wandering round Turkey and one twilight came to a tiny Greek theatre. Ancient amphitheatres are irresistible; you want to test the acoustics. We were told that it was after hours, but we slipped in and I did the St Joan at the stake speech. It is full of dramatic flourishes: she casts the document back to the Inquisitor and says, "Light your fire!" The only audience we had was some Danish tourists, who wandered in halfway throughnReuse content