If you’ve watched the “Harry Potter” film series, you probably remember the spiteful Aunt Marge. Despite having a rather short appearance in the third installment, actor Pam Ferris left quite an impression on young fans. Do you know that she’s been a noted actress since the 1970s?
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Early life and Education
Pamela E. Ferris was born on 11 May 1948, in Hanover, Lower Saxony, then Allied-occupied Germany. Her parents were Welsh – her father Fred Ferris, was in the Royal Air Force, which is why she was born in Hanover. Her parents returned to Wales when she was still a baby, so she spent most of her early years near Bridgend, Glamorgan.
After resigning from the RAF, her father became a policeman, while her mother, Ann Perkins, worked in the bakery owned by her family. Ferris has a sister, called Barbara.
When Ferris was 13, her family emigrated to New Zealand, where she matriculated from high school. Little is known about her life from this time period, but she disclosed that she worked as a representative. Around this time, she saw the film “London Assurance” starring Judi Dench, and it was then that she decided to pursue an acting career. For a while, she performed at the Mercury Theatre located in Auckland, New Zealand, but when she was 22, she moved back to the UK so she could find more job opportunities.
Ferris continued her theatre career in the UK. She worked for several regional companies, before finally making her TV debut in 1972, in the feature film “To Love a Maori”. During this time, though, she took a break from her career so she could take care of her sick mother. This is why she didn’t land any new roles until 1983, when she appeared in the TV film “Meantime”.
In 1985, Ferris landed her first recurring role in a TV series, when she was cast as Nesta in “Connie”, a drama series set in the fashion industry. Before the end of the ‘80s, she was seen in several more titles, such as “Ladies in Charge”, “Dramarama”, “Hardwicke House” and “South of the Border”.
In 1991 she landed her breakthrough role as Ma Larkin in the ITV series “The Darling Buds of May”, maintaining her role of the motherly figure until the show ended in 1993. In 1992 she portrayed Mrs White in “Cluedo”, and in 1994 she was in “Middlemarch”, alongside Juliet Aubrey and Robert Hardy. During this period, she also guest-starred in numerous TV series, including “The Rector’s Wife”, “The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends” and “Screen Two”.
In 1996, Ferris portrayed Trunchbull in the famous family comedy film “Matilda”, co-starring with famous actors such as Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, and Mara Wilson, and for her contribution to this film, she even earned a Saturn Award nomination.
The following year, she was cast as Peggy Snow in the TV series “Where the Heart Is”, remaining on the show for three years and earning three nominations for National Television Awards in the category Most Popular Actress.
Before the end of the millennium, Ferris was often seen on TV in series such as “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall”, “Our Mutual Friend” and “Wycliffe”. She was also in several TV films, including “Death of a Salesman”, “The Turn of the Screw” and “Cows”.
In 2002, she portrayed Marion Eustace in the drama TV series “Paradise Heights”, but the show was canceled after just one season.
In 2003, she was in “Clocking Off” and “Doc Martin and the Legend of the Clouty”. She co-starred as Laura Thyme in “Rosemary and Thyme”, the crime series about two professional gardeners who became the key to solving various crimes; the show lasted for three seasons, with her on-screen best friend portrayed by Felicity Kendal.
Ferris landed the role of the rather disliked Aunt Marge in the third installment of the worldwide famous film series, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”, in 2004. That same year, she was also in the movies “Gladiatress” and “Picadilly Jim”. Two years later, in 2006, she was in Alfonso Cuaron’s sci-fi thriller “Children of Men”, alongside Julianne Moore, Clive Owen and Chiwetel Ejiofor, and the same year portrayed Grace Poole in the mini-series adaptation of “Jane Eyre”.
In 2008, Pam appeared alongside Liam Neeson and Antonio Banderas in Richard Eyre’s thriller “The Other Man”, and later that year was cast as Mrs General in the drama TV series “Little Dorrit”. In 2009, she was in several feature films, most notably “Within the Whirlwind” and “Malice in Wonderland”.
Ferris portrayed Sister Evangelina in the main cast of the Heidi Thomas’ history series “Call the Midwife”, about a group of midwives from East London, for four seasons before she left the show in 2016.
In 2018, she portrayed Queen Victoria in the comedy film “Holmes and Watson”. As of June 2020, her latest appearance on the big screen has been in 2019, when she portrayed Mrs. Faulkner in the biographical film “Tolkien”.
Ferris met Roger Frost in 1983 while working at the London’s Royal Court Theatre; Frost is known for performing in movies such as “The Wolfman”, “Time Bandits” and “The Bourne Identity”. The duo married in 1986 after a long relationship, and spent many years living in Golders Greens, London, but currently reside in Elham, Kent, England. They don’t have children, and when asked about this, Ferris once said: ‘I was obsessed with work in my youth. It’s why I didn’t get married until I was 38, and the reason I didn’t have kids.’ She added that she isn’t sad about this, not because she doesn’t think she’d make a good mother, but simply because that’s the way it happened, and she can’t change anything about it.
She and her future husband gave up smoking in 1985.
Ferris is an avid supporter of various charitable organizations that support disabled people.
She is known to be very professional. During filming the bed scene for “The Darling Buds of May”, her co-star David Jason smuggled a cucumber and kept it under the sheets. Ferris knew it was there, but that didn’t prevent her from completing the scene perfectly.
Ferris loves dogs, and as of June 2020 she has two – a Jack Russell called Elsie and a Lurcher named Stanley.
Happy Birthday Pam Ferris [Aunt Marge]! 🎉
Posted by The Common Room on Tuesday, May 10, 2016
She even stated during the interview for the online magazine “Yours” that the reason she left the series “Call the Midwife” was because she couldn’t take her dogs to the new filming location in Surrey, England. The rumors were that she left the show because she had a stroke, just like the character she portrayed, but the truth was far from that.
Ferris has one of the longest lasting acting careers in England. As of mid-2020, her successful endeavors have earned her a net worth that is estimated at around $6 million!
Ferris has a height of 5ft 6ins (1.68cm), and weighs around 137lbs (62kgs). From looking at her pictures, we can conclude that she used to weigh more, but has managed to lose a significant number of pounds. When she was younger, she had auburn hair which later turned gray, and she has bright blue eyes.