Media flak about Jacqueline du Pre

Media flak about Jacqueline du Pre


norman lebrecht

September 05, 2021

The British actress, Miriam Margolyes, famed for her Harry Potter role and her tattling media profile, has claimed in a memoir that her former therapist administered euthenasia to the cellist Jacqueline du Pre, who was dying of multiple sclerosis.

According to Margolyes, Du Pre rang the therapist to request a mercy killing.

Margolyes relates the gossip with relish. It has no foundation in fact.

While writing about an unpleasant memoir written by members of her family more than 20 years ago, I interviewed at least six people who were close to Du Pré in her suffering years. They assured me that, towards the end, Jackie was physically and mentally incapable of picking up a phone to request anything.

Margolyes and her memoir deserve no intelligent attention.



  • Rob Keeley says:

    Margolyes is a sad, pathetic, attention-seeking luvvie. End of story.

  • V. Lind says:

    Which brother-in-law are you referring to? The only one from her own family was Kiffer Finzi, and I have no knowledge of any memoir written by him. Neither am I aware of any brothers to Daniel Barenboim.

    He brother, Piers DuPré, did, however, write a memoir in concert with his sister Hilary. It was the basis of the film Hilary and Jackie.

    Hard to reckon a motive for Miriam Margolyes, who has been accused of many things but not of dishonesty, making this up. Of her therapist, who knows — she clearly violated a confidence in telling Margolyes anything about another patient, but if there is a lie, I suspect it is sourced there.

    The memoir has already attracted the “intelligent attention” of The Guardian. It may not be the last.

    • Marfisa says:

      Miriam Margolyes, among other things, is a patron of the organisation My Death My Decision, “which seeks a more compassionate approach to dying in the UK, including the legal right to a medically assisted death, if that is a person’s persistent wish”, to quote the Wiki article. That would explain her interest in this story, which I agree the therapist should not have revealed to anyone (true or not).

      I cannot help reflecting on the irony of “tattling media profile” and “relates the gossip with relish”.

    • Cynical Bystander says:

      She started her round of polishing the t*rd in the Mail. Still 2 cheeks of the same a*se, same stench.

  • marcus says:

    I think I am correct in saying that of late, Margoyles just appears on TV to shout the word “cunt”. Dont think I would give her any more attention than she already has.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    I’m only sorry Margolyes didn’t get the euthanasia. A thoroughly revolting human being and a serial boof-head.

    • Andreas B. says:

      to quote a certain ‘Sue Sonata Form’ in another post:

      “She speaks well of you, though.”

      your horrifying first sentence above speaks so eloquently about yourself that any further comment seems unnecessary.

    • Amos says:

      Mein Schatz, We all realize that any discussion of a lesbian Jewish woman and euthanasia stirs your old passions but you must remain calm in order to maintain credible deniability. Next time before pressing send simply slip on your armband, play Kna’s recording of Meistersinger, close your eyes, and dream of what might have been.

    • V. Lind says:

      You’re just ticked because she lives in Australia with her partner.

      She was good in Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, one of the most fun series to come out of Aus in recent years. She also made a terrific 3-part doco about Australia last year or so — good enough that I may watch it again.

      And Graham Norton clearly revels in her appearances. I do find her a little unedited, but her openness and receptiveness to other people is refreshing. Not traits, obviously, that would appeal to you.

  • Deskplayer says:

    Miriam Margoyle exists to shock. Yes. Profanities on any occasion. Leave the memory of Du Pre alone.

  • Jim C. says:

    The therapist may have done it on their own. It used to be a very common thing to do.

  • Kathleen E King says:

    The late, so very great cellist, Jacqueline du Pre, should be left in honor and peace. All these scurrilous references are simply deplorable, just like the author, who is a no talent nobody.

  • sam says:

    What did the corona’s report say was the cause of death? (And what of the “inquest”, that uniquely British thing that publicly investigates one’s cause of death?)

  • AndrewB says:

    My feeling is that unless this story/ claim can be proved- which it can’t because the therapist concerned died in the late 1990s and there seems to be no corroboration apart from ‘she told me’ – it should not be repeated like this. The cause of death given was Broncopneumonia and Multiple Sclerosis. Furthermore even if she had requested assistance in dying ( which her family and friends deny because she had a medical team with her all the time towards the end) wouldn’t it be normal to show respect for her privacy?

  • Emil says:

    The Guardian also mentions Barenboim being upset and wanting to preserve the dignity of Du Pré which, given that he had two children from a secret affair while she was suffering from MS, is quite rich.

    • V. Lind says:

      I don’t think they were any secret from DuPré, which may have added to her despair.

      (Not especially faulting Barenboim, to whom she was lost as a wife for a very long time before her death — he did stay with her, after his fashion, till the end, after which he married the other lady and has as far as I know stayed with her ever since).

    • Tamino says:

      I would not judge, unless one had the exact same experience oneself.

  • Allen says:

    Is this revelation about Jacqueline du Pre, or is it really about Miriam Margolyes?

  • Madeleine Richardson says:

    Medical matters are private unless the sufferer or the family choose to divulge information.

  • Herbie G says:

    Whether or not there is any substance to this title tattle, one thing is certain. Long after subterranean worms have finished feasting on Miriam Margolyes’s mortal remains, hundreds of thousands of people will still be listening to the wealth of inspired recordings that Jacqueline du Pre has left for us. Her passionately spontaneous style may not be for all tastes (though it certainly suits me) but life dealt her a devastating hand and she fought bravely against the cruel illness that put a premature end to her career.

    I was in the audience at a South Bank master class she held when she was confined to a wheelchair and unable to use her hands to demonstrate how certain passages should be played – but her communication with the two students was phenomenal. The work in question was Brahms’ F major Cello Sonata and she was trying to describe how to phrase the pizzicato notes in the opening of the second movement. ‘Think of the Harry Lime theme!’, she said. She was warm-hearted, encouraging and cheerful throughout. What an inspiration.

    It’s to be expected that her despair (and possibly the medication she was taking) might have affected her behaviour on some occasions, but the way that her sister Hilary and her brother-in-law Kiffer Finzi exploited her story by smearing her memory after her death with that disgraceful documentary is beneath contempt. I can’t resist the conclusion that Hilary was jealous of her far more talented sister – but even so, that this should lead to her trashing her in this way is shameful. Both Hilary and her husband were related to infinitely greater musicians and again, Jackie’s memory will still shine out when both of them have been long forgotten. The first four bars alone that open that Brahms sonata are, in Jackie’s hands, enough to blot out the entire artistic achievements of Ms Margolyes.

  • Gary Freer says:

    Just trying to sell her book. She also had a go at some of the Pythons and Goodies for being nasty to her at Cambridge nearly 60 years ago. How pathetic is that?

  • piano lover says:

    To me Dupré is the ONLY cellist who has a sound that is not like coming out of a box.