I Blame the Women for My Illegitimate Children; Spike Milligan, 80 This Week, Blows His Top Inside His Yellow Mini

By Grant, Clare | The Mirror (London, England), April 15, 1998 | Go to article overview

I Blame the Women for My Illegitimate Children; Spike Milligan, 80 This Week, Blows His Top Inside His Yellow Mini


Grant, Clare, The Mirror (London, England)


SPIKE Milligan was sitting in a small canary-yellow Mini in the driveway of his huge modern house near Rye.

I didn't see him at first. I was too busy wondering what to expect from this hyper-sensitive comic genius.

As I walked towards the large front door, I heard a tap on the car window. He waved me to the passenger door.

"Do you mind if we do the interview in the car, my dear?" he said as I got in. "The house is such a mess today."

Spike Milligan is 80 tomorrow - and he is not going quietly into his dotage.

He is angry about everything, from how much he got paid for the Goon Show to the mistresses who landed him with two illegitimate children.

"I blame the women," he says, clutching the Mini's steering wheel. "They told me they had taken care of the contraception and I believed them.

"It was a surprise to me when I discovered these children. But I wasn't going to walk away. I fathered them so I was going to look after them.

"It's hard luck but it's a conscience thing. I love all my children and I am a good provider."

The comedian's love life is well documented.

As well as four children - Laura, Sean, Stile and Jane - by his first two wives June Marlowe (who left him in the late Fifties) and Paddy Ridgeway (who died of breast cancer in 1977) he is also father of two illegitimate children by two different women.

Spike had two affairs in the Seventies while he was married to Paddy. He had a son James, now 22, with artist Margaret Maughan, and a daughter Romany, now 21, who lives in Canada.

Spike tells me he wants all his kids to be provided for after his death.

"They are the most important thing in my life. I was seduced by my children and still am. It is lovely. I have a shelf of childhood mementos, little toys and things they made.

"When I die I am going to be buried with them."

It seems depressing to be talking about death just before his 80th birthday, but Spike is in a serious mood.

As the originator of modern British comedy and the inspiration of Monty Python, he feels in his old age that he should at least have made some money.

The fact is the rights for the Goon show were sold to the BBC for pounds 1,000.

"It seemed a lot of money then but I regret it now."

The sum total of his wealth is pounds 220,000 in a Halifax Building Society account.

"I should have been a millionaire," he says. "I sold my house in London for pounds 750,000 but I lost pounds 450,000 on the Black Wednesday stock market crash.

"Now I have to be careful because it has to last my lifetime. I'm not reckless with money ... I want to leave something."

Suddenly he leans towards me. "I've got something in my eye," he says. "Can you see anything?"

I looked into his pale watery blue eyes, a stray hair from his busy white eyebrows is caught in the corner. I brush it away.

"Thank you. You know I feel as though I am dead.

"It is cruel. I changed the face of humour and I feel as though I don't exist now. Some people think I am already dead. But the fact is I will have to die before I get any credit." But what about the famous friends who rave about him? What about Prince Charles?

"Oh yes, what did I call him? A grovelling little bastard, was it? I think more has been made of our friendship than there is. I haven't seen him for more than a year. …

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