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Hollywood star Mark Strong, 57, reveals how being abandoned made him ‘incredibly independent’

Hollywood star Mark Strong has revealed how being abandoned by his father as a baby influenced his own approach to fatherhood.

The actor, whose big screen credits include Syriana and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy, said losing contact with his Italian-born dad meant he had ‘no blueprint’ when it came to raising his sons but ‘the best thing you can do is be around.’

The 57-year-old told today’s Desert Island Discs how his father ‘left when I was a baby.

‘So, I didn’t really have an awful lot to do with him. I am not sure where he is now.’

He added: ‘The thing perhaps that we have in common is that neither of us seemed to have needed each other particularly.

Hollywood star Mark Strong has revealed how being abandoned by his father as a baby influenced his own approach to fatherhood

Hollywood star Mark Strong has revealed how being abandoned by his father as a baby influenced his own approach to fatherhood

Hollywood star Mark Strong has revealed how being abandoned by his father as a baby influenced his own approach to fatherhood

‘Which is sad on one hand but on the other, what it managed to do was make me incredibly independent.’

The Olivier Award-winner, who was born Marco Giuseppe Salussolia, recalled how his Austrian mother had come to London to work as an au pair in the early 1960s where she met his father.

He told host Lauren Laverne how the community in north London helped raise him while his mother juggled several jobs to make ends meet.

The 57-year-old told today's Desert Island Discs how his father 'left when I was a baby

The 57-year-old told today's Desert Island Discs how his father 'left when I was a baby

The 57-year-old told today’s Desert Island Discs how his father ‘left when I was a baby

He recalled: ‘I remember we lived in a one room in Stoke Newington and, bless her, my mum hung a washing line across the room and put a blanket over it so we would have two rooms, that was the idea.

‘She was working two jobs. She worked in the rag trade in a factory in Islington and then would come home and have to work in a bar in the evenings.

‘So I spent a lot of time with neighbours and just being taken care of. The kind of community spirit of Islington around that time was really strong.’

Mark said he believed his role as a father was to ‘carry’ his two boys – aged 13 and 16 – to adulthood.

‘Basically, with boys you have just got to give them love because they are almost fully formed when they come out of the womb,’ he said.

‘You think you are changing them; you think you are doing things to them by teaching them whatever it is you are teaching them.

‘But actually, I think they have their spirit in them already so all you really need to do is just carry them through from being very very young to adulthood.’

Desert Island Discs is on BBC Radio 4 today (Sunday) at 11.00 am and will be repeated on Friday at 9.00 am. 

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