Born in Oxford, England in 1941 & educated at Newnham College, Cambridge, Miriam Margolyes is a veteran of stage and screen, an award-winning actress who achieved success on both sides of the Atlantic. Winner of the BAFTA Best Supporting Actress award in 1993 for The Age of Innocence, she also received Best Supporting Actress at the 1989 LA Critics Circle Awards for her role in Little Dorrit and a Sony Radio Award for Best Actress in 1993 for her unabridged recording of ‘Oliver Twist’. She was the voice of the Matchmaker in Mulan & Fly, the mother dog, in Babe.
Major film credits during her long and celebrated career include Yentl, Little Shop of Horrors, I Love You To Death, End of Days, Sunshine, Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence, Cold Comfort Farm & Magnolia. She starred in Stephen Hopkins' The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, Modigliani, Istvan Szabo's Being Julia & Ladies in Lavender (dir. Charles Dance, with Dames Smith & Dench). Margolyes was Professor Sprout in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets & will appear in 2011 in the very last of the series, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows. Most recently, Margolyes appeared in The Dukes, How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (with Simon Pegg) & a Close Book with Tom Conti.
Most memorable TV credits include, Old Flames, Freud, Life and Loves of a She Devil, Blackadder, The Girls of Slender Means, Oliver Twist, The History Man, Vanity Fair & Supply & Demand. She was Franny in the CBS sitcom, Frannie's Turn & was a Guest Star in the Miss Marple episode, Murder at the Vicarage & in the BBC 3 comedy series, Coming of Age. Her 2004 BBC TV documentary series about Charles Dickens in 2004; Dickens in America was a worldwide success. In May 2010, she starred in the UK TV series, MERLIN. This year saw her playing Shirley Dunwich in DOC MARTIN and she returns to Australia later this year to complete filming of THE MISS FISHER MURDER MYSTERIES for ABC.
Stage credits include Madame Morrible in both the London & Broadway productions of WICKED, Madame Arcati in Blithe Sprit (Melbourne Theatre Company) Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Earnest at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (dir. Sir Peter Hall) , Lady Wishfort in The Way of the World at Sydney Theatre Company, The Vagina Monologues, Sir Peter Hall's Los Angeles production of Romeo & Juliet, She Stoops to Conquer & Orpheus Descending in London (dir. Sir Peter Hall) The Killing of Sister George, The Threepenny Opera (Tony Richardson) & her own award-winning, one-woman show, DICKENS' WOMAN, performed at Festivals in Edinburgh, London, Sydney, Jerusalem, Santa Cruz, USA, New York City, Boston & all over India. Most recently, she starred in Theatre du Complicite’s West End production of Beckett’s Endgame, playing Nell, for which she won the WHATSONSTAGE award for Best Supporting Actress for the second time. She played THE DUCHESS in the revival of ME & MY GIRL in December 2010. She s currently starring in A DAY IN THE DEATH OF JOE EGG at the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow.
Her voice work has been internationally acclaimed & she is regarded as the most accomplished female voice in Britain: she has recorded many audio books including Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, Alice in Wonderland & Alice Through the Looking-Glass, Matilda, Pinnocchio, The Worst Witch series, The Queen & I (one of the best-selling audio books in the world) The Little White Horse, The Sea, Troy & Wise Child ). She voiced many TV documentaries, including The Human Body, & numerous commercials, the most famous probably being the Manikin Cigar ads, the Cadbury's Caramel Bunny & Dolly, the Chimp in the PG Tips Campaign. She is now the voice of Mama in the Dolmio TV commercials.
In 2002, H.M The Queen awarded her the Order of the British Empire for her services to Drama.