Tue. Feb 27th, 2024

Veteran actor Michael Gambon has died aged 82

Irish-born actor Michael Gambon has died peacefully in hospital aged 82, his family has announced.

Gambon, who was born in Dublin’s Cabra, won four TV Baftas, and is known for his extensive back catalogue of work across TV, film, radio and theatre over a career spanning five decades.

He was 82. Mr. Gambon’s family confirmed his death in a brief statement issued on Thursday through a public relations company. “Michael died peacefully in hospital with his wife, Anne, and son Fergus at his bedside, following a bout of pneumonia,” the statement said.

Sir Michael John Gambon CBE was an Irish-English actor. Gambon started his acting career with Laurence Olivier as one of the original members of the Royal National Theatre. Over his six-decade-long career, he received three Olivier Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and four BAFTA Awards.

In recent years he played Albus Dumbledore in six of the eight Harry Potter films.

He is also known for playing French detective Jules Maigret in ITV series Maigret, and for starring in Dennis Potter’s acclaimed BBC series, The Singing Detective.

Michael Gambon as Dumbledore in Harry Potter. Image credit: Warner Bros.

A statement issued on behalf of his wife Anne Gambon and 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.

“We ask that you respect our privacy at this painful time and thank you for your messages of support and love.”

Michael Gambon made his first appearance on stage in a production of Othello at Dublin’s Gate Theatre in 1962 and was awarded a knighthood (he had British citizenship since childhood) by the UK in 1998 for his contribution to the entertainment industry.

Michael Gambon, Emily Watson and Richard E Grant in Gosford Park

During an appearance on The Late Late Show in 2017, Gambon said he has “always felt Irish”.

“When I was in Dublin, born here, that’s how I used to talk. I slowly but surely came to England, and in England they all spoke Dublin anyway. In Camden Town I was Irish and then I heard people talking English, like that you know,” he said, adopting a posh affectation.

“But still, when I went home to see my mum and dad, up the road in Camden Town, I spoke like that,” Gambon added in an Dublin accent.

During the same appearance on the RTÉ chat show, Gambon laughed about a white lie he told his late mother, a devout Catholic.

“Well I know the Pope. He’s a friend of mine,” Gambon told his mother.

“She couldn’t believe it,” he continued. “She said, what’s he like? I said, he’s a very nice man, sometimes he gets a very bad temper.

“That’s what she believed, until the day she died she thought I was a friend of the Pope.”

Gambon put in a memorable performance in the BBC’s 2015 adaptation of JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy and his illustrious theatre career includes appearances in Alan Ayckbourn’s The Norman ConquestsThe Life Of Galileo and Nicholas Hytner’s National Theatre production of Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2.

In 2016 he appeared as Private Godfrey in the big screen adaptation of Dad’s Army, and his other film roles included period dramas such as 2010’s The King’s Speech, 2001’s Gosford Park and 2017’s Victoria & Abdul.

He was also recognised on the other side of the Atlantic with Emmy nominations for Mr Woodhouse in 2010 for an adaption of Jane Austen’s Emma and as former US president Lyndon B Johnson in Path To War in 2002.

His turn in David Hare play Skylight, about the fallout of an affair, also led to a Tony nod in 1997 and earlier in 1990 he secured an Olivier Award for comedy performance of the year for diplomatic comedy Man Of The Moment at the Globe in London, now the Gielgud Theatre.



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