Harry Potter actress Miriam Margolyes says she has asked her partner to help her die if she falls seriously ill: 'Suicide is not a terrible thing'
The 'Harry Potter' actress also called for a review of the legislation around friends or family helping loved ones die, for which they can be currently charged for murder.
Miriam Margolyes has revealed that she would prefer assisted suicide if she were to fall seriously sick. The 77-year old British actress is well known for her portrayal of Professor Pomona Sprout in the ‘Harry Potter’ movie series, and is currently set to appear in the two-part BBC series ‘Miriam’s Dead Good Adventure,’ which explores thoughts and attitudes around death.
The actress also called for a review of the legislation around friends or family helping loved ones die, for which they can be currently charged for murder.
The first episode of the series sees Miriam traveling to America where she meets individuals who are trying to achieve a long life by thinking and feeling differently about death.
Talking to the Daily Mail about the upcoming show, Miriam shared her own experiences with death and spoke about assisted suicide being an option so as to reduce the suffering that people go through when they are critically ill.
“I'd rather be alive than dead. Dying is the thing that worries people and I understand that. It worries me. You don't want to be incontinent and smelly and helpless.”
“I'm nearly 78 and started to lose friends within the last five years, people that I really cared about died and that made me confront the issue.”
This comes after she spoke to Metro earlier about her funeral plans, where she admitted that she had the event planned out, including choosing the coffin as well.
“I haven’t collected it yet, I’ve got to go and get it, and it’s waiting for me. It’s all packed up," she said, adding, "I have to go and get it and get it up the stairs to the attic.”
The actress also added that she would like her funeral to be a party. “I hope people will miss me and be sad that I’ve died because they won’t see me again. But they will be glad that they’ve known me I hope, and that’s what I want. That people will notice that I’m not there anymore.”
"I think I’d like my funeral to be a party really, for my friends. So I shall set aside some money for that."
While talking about suicide, Miriam admitted that ‘young suicide’ was a waste.
“As long as death is voluntary it's OK, I don't think suicide is a terrible thing,” she remarked. “That does disturb me. If people want to end their life because they're in the grip of a horrific illness that won't get better then its understandable, isn't it,” she added.
Miriam and her partner Heather Sutherland, who have been together since 1967, have apparently discussed the steps to be taken if one of them were to fall seriously ill.
“One of the things I've always said to her is 'please don't let me suffer,” she said. “I hope to fight for is a change in the law so that those who want to die can get their friends to help them without them being accused of murder.”
She feels we struggle to discuss dying because there is ’embarrassment’ around the subject. "It’s a very deep human loathing of death," she explained. "I think we all have it and you can tell from literature and poetry that as long as people have reflected on life, they have feared death. It’s part of being alive, being scared of not being alive."
'Miriam's Dead Good Adventure' airs 21 April at 9 pm on BBC Two.