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Body and soul: Actress Marion O' Dwyer

Marion is from Clontarf, Dublin. Her recent theatre appearances includes Mrs Malaprop in The Rivals at the Abbey Theatre, a one-woman play Mrs Whippy at Liberty Hall Theatre and Big Love at the Peacock Theatre.

My parents were . . . My dad, Frank, was an actor and passed away two years ago and my mum, Sally, should have been an actor too.

The house I grew up in . . . was a mile down the road from where I live now.

When I was a child I wanted to be . . . in charge. I also wanted to be on the stage. I used to love going to the Gaiety to see the panto and Maureen Potter.

If I could change one thing about myself . . . I would like to be slim and solvent.

You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at . . . swotting. I've just completed a degree in English Literature from the Open University.

You may not know it but I'm no good at . . . lying. I'm like a rabbit in the headlights when I tell a lie, people can always tell.

At night I dream of . . . re-designing my house and what I would do to it.

When I look in the mirror I see . . . someone who should be grown up by now.

My favourite item of clothing is . . . a sapphire blue, fun-fur coat. I feel like a film star whenever I wear it.

I wish I'd never worn . . . shoes that were too small. My left foot is completely squashed from wearing shoes that were too tight for a play, just because I was trying to be nice to the costume designer.

I drive . . . a very elderly Peugeot 106.

My house is . . . a little, red-brick terrace house in Clontarf.

My favourite works of art . . . are anything by Renoir and the impressionists. I saw an exhibition in Chicago and I was completely dazzled.

A book that changed me . . . was The Game of Life by Florence Scovel-Shinn. I give it to people when they're down, it's very old-fashioned -- a forerunner of new-age self-help books.

My greatest regret is . . . not being able to make the wedding of my friends Brendan O'Carroll and Jenny. They married about five years ago in Florida but I had a car accident and suffered bad whiplash so I couldn't travel.

My real-life villain is . . . all the fat cats. I just can't get over what has happened and the fact that they are still taking bonuses.

The person who really makes me laugh is . . . it's a tie between Brendan O'Carroll and Ricky Gervais.

The last time I cried . . . I'm an awful one for weeping, I have to change the channel when the Concern ads come on.

My five-year plan is . . . I don't have one.

My life philosophy is . . . to live life like it's the only one you have. Also, when in doubt, be kind.

Marion is starring in Brian Friel's Philadelphia, Here I Come, which is being produced by Noel Pearson and will play at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin, from March 10 for a limited season. Call 01 677 1717 or Ticketmaster on 0818 719 388 or see www.gaietytheatre.com