‘It was terrible’: Bill Nighy recalls ‘embarrassing’ letter he wrote to his father when he ran away to Paris

Veteran actor shared some childhood memories in a new interview

Roisin O'Connor
Wednesday 13 April 2022 10:24 BST
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Louise Thomas

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Bill Nighy has shared the touching story of how he once ran away to Paris, aged 15, with his best friend.

The English actor recalled writing a two-page note to his father Alfred, a garage owner in Caterham, with plans to write “the great English short story” in the French capital.

The actor told GQ Style in a new interview that he’d made the journey without taking any underwear “because I’d read that Ernest Hemingway didn’t wear any”.

Nighy recalled arriving with his friend Brendan in Paris only to realise it was too late to find somewhere to sleep. Instead, they slept in the street, waking to realise they were under the Arc de Triomphe.

“It was two bits of writing paper,” Nighy said of the letter he wrote to his father. “And it said, ‘Don’t try and find me. I’ll be 17 soon, and I can no longer live under your repressive regime.’

“It was terrible, the most embarrassing piece of tosh you’ve ever read in your life,” he added. When his father died, in 1976, Nighy discovered that his father had kept it after all those years.

Nighy, who is set to appear in new film Living with Tom Burke and Sex Education’s Amee Lou Wood this year, recently went viral on TikTok after being spotted on the London Tube reading Sylvia Plath.

In a clip shared on the video app by user Emma Lawlor, the Love Actually star could be seen reading Plath’s seminal text The Bell Jar while sat down on the London Underground.

The footage delighted fans, with one commenting: “Not him reading The Bell Jar. I can’t with this man.” Read more here.

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