Mark Strong has said his father was absent when he was a boy and made him an “incredibly independent” person

The 57-year-old actor, best known for his roles in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the Kingsman films, and the television series Our Friends in the North, said a lack of “authoritarian figure” means he has important lessons for life must learn independently

When he appeared on Desert Island Discs, he remembered how his Austrian mother came to London in the early 1960s to work as an au pair, where she met his father, an Italian who had none in his life Role played

Olivier Prize winner, née Marco Giuseppe Salussolia, told host Lauren Laverne that some good things have come from the lack of father figure in his life

He said, “He left when I was a baby so I didn’t really have much to do with him

“I’m not sure where he is now. What we may have in common is that neither of us seem to have needed each other very much, which is sad on the one hand, but managed to make me incredibly independent on the other

“I guess not having an authoritarian figure or character that you felt had to like or look up to meant I had to make it up myself”

Looking back on his upbringing in north London, he explained how the local community had helped him look after him while his mother worked

He said, “I remember we lived in one room in Stoke Newington and my mother, bless her, hung a clothesline across the room and put a blanket over it so we had two rooms, that was the idea

“She worked two jobs. She worked in the rag trade at a factory in Islington and then came home and had to work in a bar at night

“So I spent a lot of time with neighbors just caring about the Islington community spirit at the time was really strong”

Strong, who has starred in more than 60 films, said his childhood was partly responsible for his passion for theater, film, and television

“I love it because as a kid I don’t have a family and I do cod psychology on myself,” he said

“It’s probably like a family to be part of a theater group or to be on a movie set with a group of people

“During this time you are incredibly close, you see yourself at your best and your worst. You wake up with them, you say goodnight to them. It’s a whole day every day”

He said he always enjoyed saying goodbye to the cast and crew because it meant he would soon have another “family”

Desert Island Discs can be seen on BBC Sounds as well as BBC Radio 4 on Sunday at 11am

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Mark Strong

World News – GB – Strong: ‘My absent father made me incredibly independent’