Author Topic: Steven Berkoff:; angry man or cursed by the past?  (Read 9646 times)

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Offline Iain Fisher

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Steven Berkoff:; angry man or cursed by the past?
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2009, 12:01:20 AM »
Ginny Dougary  interviews Steven in The Times, 21 Mar 2009.

Berkoff made a good impression on the interviewer

"Berkoff may be the most charmless person I've interviewed, eclipsing even Madonna, which is no mean feat. Eye contact is minimal. Small talk non-existent. Manners have been bypassed altogether. “What's this about?” he raps out by way of introduction, plonking himself at the head of the table. “What is it called, the thing? Does it have a title, this piece?” About 20 minutes in, more barking: “What's next? Anything else? Get on with it.”

There is interesting stuff on Berkoff’s personal life

“He was bullied himself as a child growing up in the East End; son of Albert, a tailor, and Pauline Berks. Steven was christened Leslie, which he loathed almost as much as Berks. He switched to his middle name, adding “Off” to his surname to preserve the ethnic ring without reverting to Berkovitch, which Albert had abbreviated to assimilate in the adopted country of his Russian forebears.…There was more than a little anger between his parents, which the young Berkoff witnessed often and absorbed. His father was a gambler, a womaniser and absent for long periods. Rejection and disappointment became leitmotifs in his son's life and on a personal level, with his 72nd birthday on the horizon, all his memories seem to be pickled in bile and a lot of pain.”

“…His mother was a pianist but even she let him down, he says. “Could you believe that I begged for a piano, every year since I was 4 or 5, but she said, ‘No, you'll get over it' or ‘We're going to be moving away'. My parents were rather ignorant of my desires or not prepared to fulfil them.”   There were a couple of failed marriages early on, but the most abiding relationship of his life has been with his German partner, Clara Fischer, a handsome woman... a classical pianist. They were introduced through a mutual friend, about 20 years ago, when Berkoff finally bought a piano and needed lessons. “I practised very hard for some months but by then it was too late and I knew it was too late. Eventually I couldn't bear it; it was a threat to me so I had to give it up.”

And Berkoff now

“For many years Berkoff was a keep-fit nut: swimming in arctic conditions, yoga, a passing flirtation with break-dancing. Now he calls himself “a bit of a lazy slob”, restricting himself - merely - to a few daily sit-ups, press-ups and a walk, as well as the 20-mile weekend hike, “sometimes a run”, along the seafront in Brighton.”
« Last Edit: May 10, 2009, 06:07:44 PM by Iain Fisher »