Jason Isaacs: How twist of fate allowed me to be there for my mother’s death

Jason Isaacs has revealed he was able to be with his mother in her final moments due to a chance disruption in his filming schedule.

The Harry Potter star’s mother died in 2014 in Israel, where she had moved from the UK some years before, of complications related to cancer and dementia.

He told the Marie Curie podcast that by chance he had been filming a television series in the country but production was halted after rockets were fired across the border with the Gaza Strip.

Jason Isaacs
Jason Isaacs

This meant Isaacs, 57, and a number of his three brothers were able to be with her before she died.

Speaking to podcast host and grief expert Jason Davidson, he said: “Bombs started going off in Israel, rockets started coming across from Gaza.

“This was 2014, and the production I was shooting obviously shut down. The insurers shut it down.

“They sent everyone home and I got to stay just at the moment my mum moved into this place.

“She was there for months, fading away, not quite understanding why she wasn’t getting better but, you know, continually talking to doctors and stuff, and everybody around knew, not because we had a diagnosis, but because it was clear that she was fading.

“I got to be with her there, and various brothers flew in at various stages, and my wife and kids flew out for a little bit, until she died and we buried her.

“Then I got a phone call saying, ‘The show’s back on. We’re shooting in Croatia’, and I got back on a plane and I went and carried on filming.

“So there was this gap appeared in my, frankly, over-busy life, I wouldn’t have been able to accommodate it otherwise, where I got to be there every day, and it was just, I’m not a believer, but it was a godsend. It was a miracle.”

Isaacs described his mother as “of that generation of women who didn’t work, but she could have run a country – she could have run a planet.

“Instead, she poured all of her slightly disturbed energy into trying to save everyone everywhere.”

The British star, who played Lucius Malfoy in the boy wizard film series, grew up in Liverpool in a Jewish family.

He said of that time: “I’ve listened to some of these podcasts and people have open, vulnerable and honest conversations, but my family aren’t like that.

“We’re not a family that has those profound conversations – when we do, we’re very cynical and cut it short.

“We’re from Liverpool, so every time you open your mouth it ought to be a gag or it ought to be making fun of someone else, or else it’s a wasted word.”

Jason Isaacs’ On The Marie Curie Couch episode is available on all major podcast platforms.

You can also listen at www.mariecurie.org.uk/talkabout/podcast.