Miriam Karlin: feminist, anti-fascist, socialist, trade unionist

June 3, 2011 at 5:45 pm (anti-fascism, BBC, comedy, Feminism, good people, Jim D, socialism)

…oh yes: and humanist.

Miriam Karlin: 23 June 1925 – 3 June 2011. RIP

As the Paddy the shop steward in ‘The Rag Trade’ (1960’s BBC TV sitcom). Note some other famous faces.

In life, she was an Equity activist, a committed anti-fascist (an early and active member of the Mk 1 Anti Nazi League) and a long-standing if often disillusioned Labour Party member.

She would probably have been amused and irritated in equal measure by the moving obituary in – of all places – the Telegraph:

Karlin – who never married – had been unwell for a number of years, suffering   from peripheral neuropathy for a decade. And she was battling her third bout   of cancer when she died.

But despite her ill health, she took to the stage as late as 2008 to appear in   Many Roads to Paradise at London’s Finborough Theatre.

Friend Philip Hedley, the respected theatre director, said: “She was a very   brave woman and she was committed to every campaign going. She was in that   great line of campaigning British left-wing actresses – along with Sybil   Thorndike – who gave her her first break – and Peggy Ashcroft.

“They were down there on the picket lines. She was friends with them both and   they had tremendous respect for each other.”

Actor Sir Antony Sher also paid tribute today. He said: “Working with Miriam   Karlin on Torch Song Trilogy was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my   career.

“She gave a tremendous performance as the Jewish mother, full of power and   anger, but there was always a twinkle in her eye, and I was often in danger   of breaking into giggles.

“There was always laughter with Miriam. A great actress. A great lady.” Read the rest here.


  1. lost said,

    i did not know miriam karlin though i was aware ofr both her acting and in general terms to her wider activity.

    i just want to send condolences to her family and to support another fighter for a better world and a better way.

    we need all the support we can get and to remember all who have gone before.

  2. From the archive: special features « Poumista said,

    […] Mr Taaffe lashes out: condemns self out of own mouth… / Peter Taaffe: what is your answer? / Miriam Karlin: feminist, anti-fascist, socialist, trade unionist […]

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