The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
IN common with many other talented actors who write their life stories, Miriam Karlin does not escape the irritating tendency to dwell on all her parts across theatre, TV, radio, variety and movies.
She says that she was an instinctive actor and a natural mimic. She is also uninhibited, but not very reflective on the plays or on her experiences in general.
In some of her award-winning roles, she could see herself in the characters. She identified with Paddy the shop steward who regularly cried: "Everybody out!" in the TV sitcom The Rag Trade.
From childhood, she had imbibed trade unionism from her father, a left-wing barrister, anti-racist and anti-fascist who has always been her inspiration.
Karlin is Jewish and her mother's family lived in Holland, some of them perishing in the gas chambers. She had a part in The Diary of Anne Frank and writes: "If my mother hadn't married my father and stayed in Britain, that could have been me."
It was not her only "show against racism." Another big success was the musical Fiddler on the Roof, " in which she was Golde opposite Topol. She campaigned hard in the 1960s for anti-apartheid, Israel and the Labour Party and with the Anti-Nazi League in the late '70s.
She became disillusioned with Israel and with Labour's failure to advance socialist ideas. Naturally, she was also very active in her trade union, Equity.
Karlin reaped rewards from her profession, but there was a cost to pay - in purges and pills to keep her body slim. Fifty years of eating disorders and other serious troubles took their toll. Without doubt, she was a workaholic and says that that was why she never married.
There is so much that she still loves in life, despite her bodily pain. See her with Daniel Craig in a new film due for release next year.