Under the microscope: Actor Simon Callow, 72, answers our health quiz
Can you run up the stairs?
Yes, and I never stand still on an escalator. I have a trainer three times a week on the iPad — an hour-long session, mostly cardiovascular stuff.
Yes, I’ve had to. I have an horrific tendency to expand. About two years ago, after a holiday in Greece, my husband Sebastian delightedly showed me photographs — and I’d become completely spherical. I changed my diet immediately and became more serious about working out. I lost 2¼ st and had to buy a new wardrobe. I now weigh 12½ st (I’m 5 ft 7½ in).
Overwork. And in the right circumstances I can drink too much. Now, though, the penalty one pays for that is so great: the decommissioning of brain cells means I’m then behind with everything.
I have an horrific tendency to expand. About two years ago, after a holiday in Greece, my husband Sebastian delightedly showed me photographs — and I’d become completely spherical Pictured: Actor Simon Callow
Any family ailments?
My father died of cirrhosis of the liver at the age of 57, drinking a bottle of brandy a day. My mother barely drank at all, but her family were big drinkers; very convivial, any occasion to throw a party, and any occasion to open another bottle. My aunt used to start the day with a tumbler of whisky before work and loved a pint of beer. My mother died aged 98 of dementia.
So few. I’ve had a charmed life as far as that’s concerned, but my knees are a real problem. It’s the cartilage, and there’s nothing much you can do about that apart from the operation, and I don’t have time for such things.
Pop any pills?
I have to take statins. I’ve got a sort of recurring herpes thing that sometimes breaks out on my face, and I take tablets every day for that.
Had anything removed?
My tonsils and appendix.
Cope well with pain?
Very well. In the 1970s I went to an acupuncturist who cleared up my hay fever. On one occasion, I was going to the dentist after seeing her and she said: ‘I hope you won’t have an injection because it will wipe out any benefits of the acupuncture.’ She told me to try to distinguish between the anticipated pain and the actual pain — and it worked.
Take any supplements?
Vitamin B12, cod liver oils and iron.
I’m claustrophobic. Hilariously, when I was directing A Christmas Carol in Houston, Texas, I was invited to go inside the Nasa spaceship that went to the moon and I couldn’t; I just couldn’t
Ever been depressed?
THere have been dark times, when I was up against it financially.
I’m claustrophobic. Hilariously, when I was directing A Christmas Carol in Houston, Texas, I was invited to go inside the Nasa spaceship that went to the moon and I couldn’t; I just couldn’t.
Like to live for ever?
Why not? I don’t feel any less energised at the age of 73 than at 23.
Simon appears in Anything Goes at the Barbican Theatre, London, from June 25 to September 3, 2022.
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