Michael York, OBE is an English actor. An early career with the National Youth Theater, Oxford University Dramatic Society, and University College Players led him to the National Theater in London. After acclaimed roles in Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet (1968), Cabaret (1972) and Jesus of Nazareth (1977), he is more recently known among mainstream audiences for his role as Basil Exposition in the Austin Powers series of comedy films. Classically trained, Michael York wrote a handbook "A Shakespearean Actor Prepares."
Question: Does religion play a role in your life?
I'm a religious person but I don't have-- subscribe to any one religion. I'm still a seeker. I mean I'm always astonished that people have these firm faiths that they have. And I think either they are very lucky or they are misguided, that they've dug their heals in so firmly. But obviously it gives structure and value to their lives and that's very important. It's when you start warring about it you know, my god rather than your god, that you get into trouble. It reminds me of that play, I think it's a short play, where there is a student of comparative religion. He says, "You know, the trouble is," he said, "I believe all of them." But I hope there's going to be-- you know, we live, we've gone through this terrible time of people warring over religion. And we went through it in the evolution of our own society in the 16th and 17th centuries you know, with appalling violence and loss of life and a real black spot on our culture. Hopefully we've got over that and we are more tolerant. Although I doubt it. There's something in the human thing where you know, because it is such a mystery, religion, you're not going to find out whether you're right until you die and pass into that next evolution. So it's very maddening. But I believe strongly when I see, again, the great artists, the works of art that have been created under a religious impulse. The great music, ecclesiastical music, you know, the great requiems and whatever that have you know, come from this impulse and of course the great you know, works of art, the paintings and whatever, the books of ours. Then you start to believe that you know, that there is this creative force that is bringing out these positive values in mankind.