Michael Gambon, a protégé of Laurence Olivier and large of the British stage who portrayed Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore, apparently with little effort, within the ultimate six Harry Potter films, has died. He was 82.
“The Nice Gambon,” as Ralph Richardson as soon as referred to as him, died “peacefully in hospital along with his spouse Anne and son Fergus at his bedside, following a bout of pneumonia,” in line with a household assertion offered Thursday by a publicist.
Among the many first group of actors recruited by Olivier for the Nationwide Theatre Firm within the early Sixties, Gambon, a Dublin native, was nominated 13 occasions for an Olivier Award, profitable in 1986 and ’90 for Alan Ayckbourn’s A Refrain of Disapproval and Man of the Second, respectively, and in 1988 for Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge.
He acquired one other one for his flip as a just lately widowed businessman attempting to reunite along with his former mistress in Skylight, then added a Tony Award nomination in his lone Broadway look after the David Hare drama got here to New York for a three-month go to in 1997.
Due to reminiscence loss, Gambon retired from the stage in 2015 however continued to work onscreen within the fruits of an excellent profession that spanned seven a long time. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth for his companies to drama in 1998.
Twelve years earlier, Gambon grew to become a family title within the U.Okay. and made a splash within the States when he starred as Philip Marlow, a bedridden thriller author who relives numerous crime tales by his hallucinations, within the six-part BBC sequence The Singing Detective, written by Dennis Potter. He would acquire the primary of his 4 BAFTA TV Awards for this efficiency, and the present would obtain a Peabody Award after it aired on PBS.
Gambon additionally was memorable in one other British thriller sequence, enjoying Parisian chief inspector Jules Maigret for 2 seasons (1992-93) on ITV’s Maigret, based mostly on the Georges Simenon novels, and he landed an Emmy nom for his flip as U.S. president Lyndon Johnson on the 2002 HBO telefilm Path to Battle, directed by John Frankenheimer.
Within the early Seventies, he rejected an invite from producer Albert Broccoli to audition for James Bond.
The fun-loving, mischievous Gambon stepped into arguably his most well-known position in 2004 when he took over as Dumbledore following the dying of Richard Harris from Hodgkin’s illness two years earlier. (Coincidentally, Harris had performed Inspector Maigret a number of years earlier than Gambon did.)
His first outing because the mild, avuncular wizard got here within the franchise’s third movie, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, with director Alfonso Cuarón having personally chosen him to switch Harris. The household of the late actor reportedly needed Peter O’Toole to get the job, one which Ian McKellen had turned down.
On the time, Cuarón mentioned that Gambon was accepting the half with deep respect for its former grasp and “even saved a bit Irish twist to his accent in a nod to Richard Harris.” Gambon would painting Dumbledore in 5 extra Potter movies, concluding with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Components II (2011).
Nevertheless, he was dismissive about how a lot work he wanted to place in to play the bearded wizard. “There’s no character actually, it’s simply me! Me dressed up in a dressing up!” he informed The Irish Occasions in 2010. “I’m primarily enjoying myself, that’s all I’m doing.”
Born on Oct. 19, 1940, in Dublin, Michael John Gambon moved to London at age 6 along with his household when his father, Edward, an engineering operative throughout World Battle II, determined to affix the workforce that was serving to to rebuild the devastated British capital.
After dropping out of college, Gambon gained an apprenticeship as a toolmaker with manufacturing large Vickers Armstrong, grew to become a professional engineering technician and appeared set to observe his father’s footsteps. However having had a style of the stage at his native theater, he determined to ship an audacious fiction-filled letter and résumé to Irish impresario Micheál Mac Liammóir, a transfer that will dramatically change his life.
In his letter, Gambon described his wealthy and wholly imaginary appearing profession, including that he was simply passing by Dublin on the best way to New York.
“I mentioned, ‘I’ve simply performed the lead within the West Finish in George Bernard Shaw’s Candida,’” he revealed in 2010. “Horrible lie. The actor enjoying it, I can’t bear in mind who it was, his title was in lights. The factor is, they by no means even questioned it.”
Dutifully impressed, Mac Liammóir in 1962 gave Gambon his first skilled appearing job, the minor a part of “Second Gentleman” with one line, in Othello on the Gate Theater. The manufacturing would then tour Europe.
A yr later, Gambon, whereas auditioning with the opening soliloquy from Richard III, caught the attention of Olivier, who was looking out for promising younger expertise to affix his new Nationwide Theatre Firm. Billed as Mike Gambon, he — together with Robert Stephens, Derek Jacobi, Frank Finlay and others — would turn into one of many firm’s “to be famend”; his first efficiency for Olivier was in Hamlet on the Previous Vic alongside O’Toole.
Olivier additionally was liable for Gambon making it to the large display, hiring him for 3 minor roles in Othello (1965), based mostly on the Nationwide model. The movie’s leads — Maggie Smith, Joyce Redman, Finlay and Olivier — every acquired an Oscar nom, a uncommon feat.
Gambon would spend three years on the Previous Vic earlier than he left the Nationwide — on the recommendation of Olivier — to broaden his credentials on the Birmingham Repertory Firm, the place he took his first title roles, amongst them Othello and Macbeth.
It was round this time, because of his efficiency as a Scottish clan chief on BBC2’s 1968-1970 swashbuckling Elizabethan-era drama sequence The Borderers, that Gambon had a noteworthy near-miss.
With George Lazenby’s efficiency as Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) failing to reside as much as expectations, Broccoli met with Gambon in London to debate the position with him. The actor mentioned he wasn’t good-looking sufficient to play the tremendous spy — he was “too fats” and “my tooth are like horses’,” he mentioned — and Sean Connery would return for the subsequent Bond movie, Diamonds Are Without end (1971).
The Seventies and ’80s would see Gambon’s stage profile rise dramatically as he returned to London to play the melancholy veteran in Ayckbourn’s The Norman Conquests and star alongside Penelope Wilton in Harold Pinter’s Betrayal, again with the Nationwide (now having established itself on the South Financial institution).
The Nationwide’s 1980 staging of Brecht’s The Lifetime of Galileo would see Gambon paid the uncommon praise of getting his fellow forged members applaud him within the dressing room on the primary evening. The Sunday Occasions would describe his work as “a decisive step within the course of nice tragedy … nice appearing.” It wasn’t lengthy earlier than he was dubbed “The Nice Gambon” by Richardson.
“He nicely might need meant it within the circus sense, you understand, like a clown or one thing,” Gambon mentioned in a 1996 Playbill interview. “Again house in England, I don’t hear it a lot as a result of we’re such a cynical bunch of bastards.”
Along with his craggy appears (“It’s like a fucking previous moist bag,” he as soon as mentioned of his face), Gambon grew to become a well-established character actor on tv, with highlights together with a well-regarded flip as Oscar Wilde on a 1985 BBC miniseries.
In between The Singing Detective and Maigret, Gambon performed a violent and harmful gangster reverse Helen Mirren in Peter Greenaway’s controversial The Cook dinner, the Thief, His Spouse & Her Lover (1989).
After showing on the large display in Toys (1992), Mary Reilly (1996), as Fyodor Dostoyevsky in The Gambler (1997) and alongside Meryl Streep in Dancing at Lughnasa (1998), Gambon had an enormous yr in 1999, showing in Plunkett & Macleane, Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hole and the BBC’s four-part adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s Nineteenth-century novel Wives and Daughters, which obtained him one other BAFTA trophy.
Carrying on into the brand new millennium, Gambon was among the many ensemble forged for Robert Altman’s critically lauded upper-class homicide thriller Gosford Park (2001), portraying a rich industrialist amongst a who’s who of British appearing greats (together with one other “to be famend,” Jacobi). An Emmy and Golden Globe nom would observe a yr later for his stint as LBJ in Path to Battle, an examination of the Vietnam Battle by the eyes of the thirty sixth president.
He then gained two extra BAFTA TV awards, for enjoying an 18th-century clockmaker on Longitude in 2001 and a member of the family who has fallen on robust occasions in Good Strangers a yr later.
As he was wrapping up his spell at Hogwarts, Gambon starred in Jane Austen’s Emma miniseries for the BBC and performed King George V in Tom Hooper’s Oscar-conquering The King’s Speech (2010). He then joined British display royalty Smith, Tom Courtney, Billy Connelly and Pauline Collins in Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut, Quartet (2012), as a cantankerous former music director dwelling in a nursing house.
It was in early 2015 that Gambon, then 74, introduced that he could be giving up the stage. “It’s a horrible factor to confess, however I can’t do it. It breaks my coronary heart,” he informed the Sunday Occasions, including that he’d tried to audition for a West Finish play with somebody feeding him traces by way of an earpiece. “And after about an hour, I assumed, ‘This may’t work.’ You’ll be able to’t be in theater, free on stage shouting and screaming and working round, with somebody studying you your traces.”
However he would proceed — although not fairly on the similar tempo as earlier than — along with his TV and movie work, narrating the Coen Brothers comedy Hail, Caesar! (2016), voicing Uncle Pastuzo within the Paddington movies launched in 2014 and ’17 and showing as British theater impresario Bernard Delfont in Judy (2019).
Gambon married mathematician Anne Miller in 1962 however moved out in 2002 after his relationship with Philippa Hart, 25 years his junior, was revealed. He had three sons, one (Fergus) with Miller and two (Thomas and William) with Hart.