Wed. Jun 19th, 2024

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Actor Sir Michael Gambon has died peacefully in hospital aged 82, according to his family.

He is best known for playing Hogwarts headmaster Dumbledore in a number of the Harry Potter films.

Sir Michael began his acting career more than 60 years ago, and was one of the original members of the Royal National Theatre alongside Laurence Olivier.

He also played French detective Jules Maigret in the ITV series Maigret, as well as starring in the BBC series, The Singing Detective.

A statement issued on behalf of Lady Gambon and his son Fergus Gambon said: “We are devastated to announce the loss of Sir Michael Gambon.

“Beloved husband and father, Michael died peacefully in hospital with his wife Anne and son Fergus at his bedside, following a bout of pneumonia.”

Read more:
Stars pay tribute to ‘phenomenal’ and ‘tremendous’ actor

Sir Michael was a decorated and accomplished star of stage and screen, winning Oliviers, BAFTAs and Emmys in his six-decades-long career.

He made his acting debut in a production of Othello in Dublin in 1962, quickly joining the National Theatre in London, and going on to work on stages around the UK, in New York and Germany.

Othello was also his first film in 1965. He went on to star in beloved movies such as Gosford Park, Sleepy Hollow and the Paddington films.

But it was the Harry Potter films that widely introduced Sir Michael to modern audiences when he replaced Richard Harris as the Hogwarts headteacher Albus Dumbledore in the franchise’s third outing.

 David Tennant, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Daniel Radcliffe
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David Tennant, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon and Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire. Pic: Warner Bros

From left, actors Michael Gambon, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Alan Rickman attend the premiere of "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince", in New York, on Thursday, July 9, 2009. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer)
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Michael Gambon with his Harry Potter co-stars. Pic: AP

More recently, Sir Michael appeared in a Dad’s Army reboot, Sky Atlantic’s Fortitude and the biographical film about Judy Garland.

As well as his career on stage and screen, he also voiced The Prophet in the Elder Scrolls video games.

The Harry Potter social media account reacted to Sir Michael’s death, writing on X, formerly Twitter: “We are incredibly saddened to hear of the passing of Sir Michael Gambon.

“He brought immeasurable joy to Harry Potter fans from all over the world with his humour, kindness and grace. We will forever hold his memory in our hearts.”

James Phelps, who played Fred Weasley in the films, left his own memories of Sir Michael, writing he was always “very funny” and “very welcoming”, explaining a moment while working on the sixth film where he offered him some notes on another show he was doing.

Another Harry Potter co-star, Fiona Shaw, who played Petunia Dursley, said she will remember Sir Michael as a “trickster”.

She told the BBC: “I will think of him as a trickster, just brilliant, magnificent trickster, but with text, there was nothing like him, he could do anything.

“He did once say to me in a car ‘I know I go on a lot about this and that, but actually in the end, there is only acting’. I think he was always pretending that he didn’t take it seriously, but he took it profoundly seriously, I think.”

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Former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson was among the first to leave tributes to the actor, writing: “I’m so sad to hear that Michael Gambon has died.

“He was hugely amusing, and such a tremendous guest, we even named a corner after him.”

Inbetweeners actor Blake Harrison wrote: “The funniest actor I’ve ever worked with. My lunch breaks on Dad’s Army were spent wanting to hear story after story from him. A phenomenal actor.”

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