(Reuters) - British actor Stephen Fry attempted suicide last year, he said during a podcast interview on Wednesday in which he talked openly about his ongoing battle with mental illness.
Fry, 55, told comedian Richard Herring in the interview in front of a live audience that he was “a victim of my own moods” and that he was required to take medication “so that I don’t get either too hyper or too depressed to the point of suicide.”
“I’d go as far as to tell you I attempted it last year. I took a huge number of pills with a huge amount of vodka and the mixture of them made my body convulse so much that I broke four ribs. But I was still unconscious,” Fry said.
“Fortunately, the producer I was filming with at the time came into the hotel room and I was found in an unconscious state and taken back to England and looked after.”
Fry told listeners at London’s Leicester Square Theater that it was the first time he had spoken about the suicide attempt publicly and that he was encouraged to because he was the president of mental health charity called Mind.
“The whole point as I see it is not to be shy and forthcoming about the morbidity and the genuine nature of death amongst people with certain mood disorders if they don’t look after it,” he told the audience.
Fry made the admission in response to a question submitted by a 12-year-old boy, who had asked what it was like to be Stephen Fry.
“What it’s like to be Stephen Fry is a very mixed and peculiar thing,” the actor said.
It was not the first time Fry has spoken out about his battle with mental illness. He explored the issue of living with bipolar disorder in a 2006 documentary, “Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive.”
Fry has worked on multiple projects spanning acting, writing, directing, journalism and presenting on radio and television during his four-decade career, becoming a well-known figure in British arts and culture.
The Cambridge-educated actor is best known for his roles in the British comedy “Blackadder,” sketch comedy “A Bit of Fry & Laurie” with collaborator Hugh Laurie, and is the long-time host of BBC television quiz show “QI.”
He is also the narrator of all seven “Harry Potter” books on audiotape.
Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy in Los Angeles; editing by Christopher Wilson