Pieces of me
My life in seven objects, by Simon Callow, actor, director and writer
Simon Callow, 66, is an actor, theatre director and writer. He has appeared in Four Weddings and a Funeral and A Room with a View, and written biographies of Orson Welles and Charles Laughton. He is also an ambassador for Hexagon Apartments. He lives in Camden, north London, with his partner, Sebastian Fox. Inter view by Charlotte Lytton. Photographs by Andy Lo Pò 1 Engraving This is by my great-great-grandfather Henry Otto Fleiss, who came from Düsseldorf to England in the mid-1860s to become art master at Marlborough College. My grandmother used to drink a toast to her grandparents every night and left the engraving to me – it’s full of meaning. 2 Mask Charles Laughton is my hero. He had the most expressive features of any actor, and his performance in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, for which this mask was made, was remarkable. 3 Horse carving This 17thcentury Chinese horse came my way when I did Equus, a play about the power of horses. I’m a great fan of them and rode as a little boy when I lived in the country. 4 Buddha I directed my frst opera in Lucerne, Switzerland, where I saw this little broken Buddha in a junk shop. I bought it and stuck it together. It seems to radiate a feeling of goodness. 5 Books I admired Christopher Isherwood intensely when I was young. There will never be a greater moment than when I found out he had been reading a book of mine for a second time when he died. I found these signed books in a charity shop in Notting Hill; the pile cost 50p. 6 Ring I was a dresser for a play starring the great theatre actor Micheál MacLiammóir in 1968, and later wrote about him in my book Being an Actor. Another actor in his company thought it was very accurate and gave me MacLiammóir’s ring. It ft perfectly – like Cinderella’s shoe. 7 Portrait of Dickens I’ve spent a lot of my life thinking of, writing about and playing Dickens. It’s touching to be reminded of his amazing contribution to human life.
I’ve spent a lot of my life thinking of, writing about and playing Dickens