Actress Dawn French has opened up about her mother's death, insisting the tragedy has made her contemplate her own mortality.

The Harry Potter star, who split from husband Lenny Henry in 2010, was left grief-stricken when her mother Roma passed away in March (12) just days after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

French, whose father committed suicide shortly before her 20th birthday, has tried to see the positive in the situation and admits it has made her less fearful of death.

She tells British paper the Daily Mirror, "You can't watch somebody die and not think about your own mortality... But I would hope to be totally optimistic about my own death. That's why I am grateful for the example shown to me by my mum.

"I remember one day coming back from a hospital test which was not good and mum said, 'Well it's a win-win situation'. I replied, 'And how do you see that?' and she said, 'Well, either I stay here with you guys or I go and see your dad.' And that is what she 100 per cent believed."