A legend of stage and screen
Michael Gambon, the acclaimed actor who played the role of Albus Dumbledore in six of the eight “Harry Potter” films, has died at the age of 82 following a “bout of pneumonia”, his family announced on Thursday. Gambon was a versatile and prolific performer who appeared in more than 200 films, TV shows and radio dramas, as well as numerous theatre productions. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1998 for his services to drama.
Gambon was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1940 and moved to London with his family when he was five years old. He left school at 15 and worked as an apprentice toolmaker before joining the National Theatre in 1963. He made his film debut in 1965 in “Othello” and his TV debut in 1967 in “The Borderers”. He rose to fame in the 1980s with his acclaimed performances in “The Singing Detective”, “The Life and Death of King John” and “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover”.
A beloved Dumbledore of ‘Harry Potter’
Gambon took over the role of Albus Dumbledore, the wise and powerful headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, in the “Harry Potter” film series after the death of Richard Harris in 2002. He portrayed the character in six films, from “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” to “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”. He brought a sense of warmth, mischief and gravitas to the role, and became a favorite among fans and critics alike.
Daniel Radcliffe, who played the titular role of Harry Potter, paid tribute to Gambon on his Instagram account, writing, “Very sorry to hear about the passing of Michael Gambon. He was, on and off the camera, a legend.” He also quoted a line from Dumbledore: “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” Rupert Grint, who played Ron Weasley, also expressed his sadness and admiration for Gambon, writing, “He brought so much warmth and eccentricities to every day on set. He captivated me as a kid and became a personal role model of mine for finding the fun and eccentricities in life.”
A legacy of excellence and versatility
Gambon was not only a star of the “Harry Potter” franchise, but also a respected and celebrated actor in many other genres and mediums. He won four BAFTA TV Awards, three Olivier Awards, two Evening Standard Awards and an Emmy Award for his diverse and impressive roles. He worked with some of the most renowned directors and actors in the industry, such as Mike Leigh, Peter Greenaway, Emma Thompson, Helen Mirren and Judi Dench. He also lent his voice to animated films and video games, such as “Fantastic Mr. Fox”, “The King’s Speech” and “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim”.
Gambon was also a passionate and dedicated theatre actor, who performed in many classic and contemporary plays, such as “Hamlet”, “King Lear”, “Uncle Vanya”, “Endgame” and “No Man’s Land”. He was praised for his ability to inhabit any character with ease and conviction, and to deliver powerful and nuanced performances. He was also known for his sense of humor and generosity, and for being a mentor and friend to many young actors.
Gambon is survived by his wife Anne and his son Fergus, who were by his side when he passed away peacefully in hospital on Thursday. His family asked for privacy and thanked the public for their messages of support and love. Gambon’s death has left a void in the world of entertainment, and he will be remembered as one of the greatest actors of his generation.