Michael Gambon: Daniel Radcliffe shares lengthy tribute for Dumbledore actor after he dies aged 82

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Actor Sir Michael Gambon, who brought the eccentric, benevolent wizard Dumbledore to life in numerous Harry Potter films, has died peacefully in hospital aged 82, his family has said.

Gambon played the magical character in six of the eight films in the franchise, and also won four TV Baftas over the course of his five-decade career.

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

A statement issued on behalf of his wife, Lady 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.”

Harry Potter author JK Rowling called Gambon an “outstanding actor” and “a wonderful man” while Hermione Granger star Emma Watson thanked him for “showing us what it looks like to wear greatness lightly”.

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Thursday 28 September 2023 13:00 , Katy Clifton

Legendary star of stage and screen Michael Gambon has died aged 82.

The actor, known for playing Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter, died peacefully in hospital following a bout of pneumonia, his family said.

We’ll be bringing you all the latest updates as tributes pour in for the four-time Bafta winner.

Michael Gambon arriving for the world premiere of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (PA Archive)
Michael Gambon arriving for the world premiere of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (PA Archive)

Family’s statement in full

Thursday 28 September 2023 13:01 , Eleanor Noyce

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. Michael was 82.

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

Former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson pays tribute

Thursday 28 September 2023 13:06 , Eleanor Noyce

Former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson has expressed his condolences after the death of Sir Michael Gambon, recalling the actor was such a “tremendous guest” he had a corner named after him on the BBC show’s race track.

“I’m so sad to hear that Michael Gambon has died,” Clarkson tweeted.

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

David Baddiel: Michael Gambon ‘best acting I’ve ever seen'

Thursday 28 September 2023 13:16 , Eleanor Noyce

Comedian David Baddiel is among those paying tribute to Sir Michael Gambon, describing his theatre performance as “the best acting I’ve ever seen.”

Posting to X, formerly Twitter, Baddiel said: “First time I ever went to see any Theatre with a capital T it was Michael Gambon in Brecht’s Life Of Galileo at The National in 1980.

“It’s still the best stage acting I’ve ever seen. RIP.”

Looking back at ‘beloved’ actor Sir Michael Gambon’s career

Thursday 28 September 2023 13:21 , Eleanor Noyce

The Dublin-born star of the stage and screen, who has won four TV Baftas, is known for his extensive back catalogue of work across TV, film, radio and theatre over a career spanning five decades. 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 the ITV series Maigret, and for his 1986 role as Philip Marlow in Dennis Potter’s The Singing Detective.

Sir Michael made his first appearance on stage in a production of Othello at the Gates Theatre, Dublin in 1962 when he returned to Ireland following his move to the UK. He was knighted for his contribution to the entertainment industry in 1998.

He 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 Conquests, The 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.

Sir Michael was also recognised by American awards 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, now the Gielgud Theatre.

Michael Gambon with Bowles in Alan Ayckbourn’s Man of the Moment play at the Globe Theatre, London in 1990 (PA Archive)
Michael Gambon with Bowles in Alan Ayckbourn’s Man of the Moment play at the Globe Theatre, London in 1990 (PA Archive)

Watch: Michael Gambon and Alan Rickman prank Daniel Radcliffe on Harry Potter set

Thursday 28 September 2023 13:26 , Eleanor Noyce

Sir Michael Gambon and Alan Rickman once pranked Daniel Radcliffe with a “fart machine” on the set of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

During a scene in which Hogwarts students are sleeping in the great hall, Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape - portrayed by Sir Michael and Rickman - quietly walk through discussing “dreams”.

As one of the takes was being recorded, Sir Michael pranked Radcliffe by pressing a button to set off a fart machine placed in the teenage actor’s sleeping bag.

Behind-the-scenes footage from the 2004 film shows the hall erupting with laughter as the prank unfolds.

Watch: Michael Gambon and Alan Rickman prank Daniel Radcliffe on Harry Potter set

Resurfaced footage shows Sir Michael accepting Evening Standard Drama Award in 1995

Thursday 28 September 2023 13:40 , Eleanor Noyce

Resurfaced footage shows the speech Sir Michael Gambon gave at the Evening Standard Drama Awards in 1995.

He was awarded Best Performance by an Actor, beginning his thanks with a hilarious “oh, f*** me.”

How Michael Gambon and Alan Rickman pranked Daniel Radcliffe on Harry Potter set

Thursday 28 September 2023 13:45 , Eleanor Noyce

Harry Potter fans are fondly remembering the late Michael Gambon’s portrayal of Dumbledore in the franchise – and one very cheeky prank he played on a young Daniel Radcliffe.

The legendary star of stage and screen died with his wife and son by his side in Essex following a bout of pneumonia, it was announced on Thursday (28 September). He was 82.

Born in Dublin, Gambon was one of the original members of the National Theatre, and won three Oliviers, four Baftas, and two SAG Awards in his lengthy career.

Gambon took over the role of Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore on the third instalment of the franchise, 2004’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The part was played by the late Richard Harris in the first two films, before his death in 2002.

Isobel Lewis reports:

How Michael Gambon and Alan Rickman pranked Daniel Radcliffe on Harry Potter set

Harry Potter actor James Phelps joins tributes

Thursday 28 September 2023 13:46 , Eleanor Noyce

James Phelps, who played Fred Weasley in the Harry Potter film franchise, has shared his memories of working with Sir Michael in a touching tribute.

“Whilst shooting HP6 I worked on the AD department for the whole shoot (apart from the days I was acting). And for that reason I spent many hours with Michael during the shoot”, he shared via X.

“He was always very funny and very welcoming to share any knowledge he had.

“One day we were shooting Dumbledore’s final clock tower scene, obviously quite an intense scene. In between set-ups Michael asked what I was up to that weekend. As it happened my brother and I were reading Peter and the Wolf with the Manchester Halle Orchestra.

“‘Do you have the script with you?’ He asked, I did, ‘I’ve done that, let’s go through it and if you like I can give you some notes.’”

“So we spent what should have been his downtime going over my weekend gig. It is a memory I’ve always had as one of the highlights of my HP days.”

Fiona Shaw remembers co-star as ‘brilliant, magnificent trickster'

Thursday 28 September 2023 13:54 , Eleanor Noyce

Irish film and TV actress Fiona Shaw has said she will remember her Harry Potter co-star Sir Michael Gambon for being a “brilliant, magnificent trickster”.

Ms Shaw, who played Petunia Dursley in the film franchise while Sir Michael played Professor Albus Dumbledore, told BBC Radio 4: “I will remember him because he was also a gun maker, he could he could make guns, he always said he could fool the V&A into believing that they were 18th century guns.

“So I will think of him as a trickster, just brilliant, magnificent trickster, but with text, there was nothing like him, he could do anything.”

She also recalled working with him on the Harry Potter films: “He took over from Richard Harris and of course, he began to mimic Richard Harris, who had recently died, and he would do his accent, the slight Irish accent.

“Which of course he always loved having an excuse to do because his family had come from Ireland, and gone to live in Camden. He just loved the precariousness of reality and unreality and, of course, that made him a very great actor.”

Ms Shaw added: “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.”

 (AP)
(AP)

Dame Eileen Atkins says there was ‘something incredibly sweet’ about the late actor

Thursday 28 September 2023 14:08 , Ellie Harrison

The 89-year-old, who starred alongside Gambon in the revival of Samuel Beckett’s All That Fall, told BBC Radio 4: “He was a lot of fun. He was a great actor, but he always pretended he didn’t take it very seriously. Of course, he does really take it seriously.

Gambon and Atkins (Alastair Muir/Shutterstock)
Gambon and Atkins (Alastair Muir/Shutterstock)

“But presence on stage was amazing. He just had to walk on stage and he commanded the whole audience immediately. He was very lovely to play with, when he behaved. He behaved with me. Sometimes he really played tricks on stage.

“There was something very sweet about him, this huge man who could look very frightening but there was something incredibly sweet inside Michael.”

She later added: “I’ll always remember him hanging on my shoulder and those incredibly beautiful hands which he always placed on my shoulder so that the audience could see them.

“I will always remember that man.”

In pictures: Gambon on stage and screen

Thursday 28 September 2023 14:22 , Ellie Harrison

Gambon took over the role of Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore on the third instalment of the franchise, 2004’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. But he also had many other roles on stage and screen. Here’s a look back at him in action...

‘The Order of the Phoenix’ (Alamy Stock Photo)
‘The Order of the Phoenix’ (Alamy Stock Photo)
‘Maigret’ (Alamy)
‘Maigret’ (Alamy)
‘Uncle Vanya’ (Alamy Stock Photo)
‘Uncle Vanya’ (Alamy Stock Photo)
‘Henry IV Part One’ (Corbis via Getty Images)
‘Henry IV Part One’ (Corbis via Getty Images)

Inbetweeners star Blake Harrison says Gambon was ‘funniest actor I’ve ever worked with'

Thursday 28 September 2023 14:28 , Ellie Harrison

The actor, who worked with Gambon on the 2016 war comedy film Dad’s Army said: “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. RIP Sir Michael Gambon.”

Gambon once played knighthood prank on Al Pacino

Thursday 28 September 2023 15:03 , Ellie Harrison

The Harry Potter star decided to tell the Hollywood legend that one of the perks of being a Sir was that women who refused him were thrown in the Tower of London.

He pranked the Godfather actor by pretending to have exercised his entitlement with a complete stranger while the two actors were having lunch.

The trick was revealed in the autobiography of England rugby legend, and fellow Harry Potter movie actor, Martin Bayfield.

In A Very Tall Story, Bayfield – who played the body double of Robbie Coltrane’s Hagrid – said Gambon had told the story while on location filming.

The Irish actor, who played Dumbledore, was knighted in 1998. He starred with Pacino the following year in the hit movie The Insider.

Gambon, Al Pacino (Getty)
Gambon, Al Pacino (Getty)

According to Bayfield, “Pacino was fascinated with his [Gambon‘s] knighthood and wanted to know what perks came with it.

“As quick as a flash, Gambon pulled out his hotel key card and told Pacino, ‘You get a Knight’s card. The card means that you can approach four women each year and they cannot refuse you or they are thrown into the Tower of London.’ “Gambon said that seconds later a good-looking middle-aged woman walked into the restaurant and sat at a table nearby. ‘Here, I’ll show you,’ he told Pacino, standing up and approaching her.

“‘Go with me on this,’ he told her. ‘I am trying to wind up Al Pacino. Will you walk with me out of the restaurant?’ “Gambon said the woman obliged and he took her around the corner for coffee.

“A little later, he and the woman returned to the restaurant. ‘I was doing up my trousers and she was tucking in her blouse,’ said Gambon. ‘And I sat back down at the table and said to Pacino: “I’ve got two left this year.”’ According to Bayfield’s account, Pacino responded by saying, ‘I’ve got to get me one of those knighthoods!’

‘The loveliest of legends'

Thursday 28 September 2023 15:18 , Ellie Harrison

Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins has shared a tribute to Gambon, describing him as “the loveliest of legends”.

Jenkins said the actor “couldn’t have been kinder, calmer and more supportive” during her time on set in the 2010 Doctor Who Christmas special.

The singer, who portrayed Abigail, shared a photo of herself next to Gambon dressed as his character Kazran.

In a Facebook post, Jenkins said: “My dear Kazran! My first acting role was opposite Sir Michael Gambon in the Doctor Who Christmas Special.

“He couldn’t have been kinder, calmer and more supportive.

“Today we have lost the loveliest of legends.”

Jared Harris pays tribute to Gambon, who took over Dumbledore role from his father Richard

Thursday 28 September 2023 15:43 , Ellie Harrison

“A brilliant actor,” he wrote on Twitter/X. “I saw him on stage several times, and he lives unforgettably in my memory. He took over Dumbledore from my father, which was fitting as he over took Brando as my father’s favourite actor.”

Gambon’s Top Gear appearances remembered

Thursday 28 September 2023 17:01 , Tom Murray

Who could forget Gambon’s famous Top Gear appearances?

The actor first took to the track in 2002. His “Star in a Reasonably Priced Car” lap was so vigorous that the hosts named the final corner of the track after him.

Read more:

Michael Gambon’s ‘spectacular’ Top Gear appearances remembered as actor dies aged 82

Lucius Malfoy star Jason Isaacs shares tribute

Thursday 28 September 2023 17:42 , Tom Murray

Jason Isaacs, who starred alongside Gambon in the Harry Potter films, has paid tribute to his late costar, praising his “ filthy sense of fun”.

Michael Gambon: The arresting and unlikely leading man who almost played Bond

Thursday 28 September 2023 18:00 , Tom Murray

The Independent’s tribute to Michael Gambon, written by Geoffrey McNab, has just gone live.

“Gambon was a consummate scene-stealer,” McNab writes. “He knew just when to pause for maximum dramatic effect and how to use subtle physical gestures to ensure an audience’s eyes were on him and not anyone else. He could read verse beautifully, but when necessary he would growl his lines with a feral intensity.

“... He also had an immediately recognisable voice. Regardless of the hair, make-up or accent, you always knew it was him.”

Read the full article here:

Michael Gambon, the arresting and unlikely leading man who almost played Bond

Lena Headey speaks on the ‘impact’ Gambon had on her

Thursday 28 September 2023 18:30 , Tom Murray

“Michael, you had such an impact on me,” the Game of Thrones star wrote. “My favorite thing about the job we did was going to the pub with you and listening to your stories, I would cry with laughter.”

Headey and Gambon co-starred in the 2003 comedy The Actors, starring Dylan Moran and Michael Caine.

“Kind and wise and eloquent, charming and authentic. Watching those amazing hands swirl around whilst you talked. The best. I feel so lucky to have had some time with you. Hope you have a pint in your hand,” Headey concluded.

JK Rowling recalls seeing Gambon play King Lear in 1982

Thursday 28 September 2023 18:46 , Tom Murray

Harry Potter author JK Rowling has paid tribute to Gambon, recalling the first time she “laid eyes on him” in 1982, years before she wrote the saga in which he would later star.

“I've just heard the awful news about Michael Gambon. The first time I ever laid eyes on him was in King Lear, in 1982, and if you'd told me then that brilliant actor would appear in anything I'd written, I'd have thought you were insane,” she wrote on Twitter/X.

“Michael was a wonderful man in additional to being an outstanding actor, and I absolutely loved working with him, not only on Potter but also The Casual Vacancy. My deepest condolences go to Michael's family and everyone who loved him.”

Responding to a comment about his performance in the King Lear, Rowling added: “It was EXTRAORDINARY! Went with my A-level class. It was the first time I’d ever seen Shakespeare performed, and talk about setting the bar almost unreachably high…”

Bonnie Wright remembers being ‘in awe’ of Gambon’s presence

Thursday 28 September 2023 19:30 , Tom Murray

Bonnie Wright, who played Ginnie Weasley in the Harry Potter saga, has paid tribute to Gambon on Instagram.

“I was forever in awe of Michael’s presence and performance,” she wrote. “His deep mischievous voice between scenes would vibrate through the Great Hall. He was Dumbledore through and through a constant, warm and guiding figure. Rest in peace Michael. Sending love to your family.”

Harry Potter cast tributes continue to roll in

Thursday 28 September 2023 20:23 , Tom Murray

JK Rowling and Rupert Grint lead Harry Potter tributes to ‘fearless’ Michael Gambon

Dumbledore quotes remembered in light of Gambon’s passing

Thursday 28 September 2023 21:20 , Tom Murray

Many Harry Potter fans are sharing Dumbledore quotes on Twitter following the news of Michael Gambon’s death.

One popular clip depicts the scene where Dumbledore addresses the Great Hall, saying: “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Daniel Radcliffe releases statement

Thursday 28 September 2023 22:58 , Tom Murray

(From left) Michael Gambon, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Alan Rickman (AP)
(From left) Michael Gambon, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Alan Rickman (AP)

Harry Potter’s lead star, Daniel Radcliffe, has shared a statement in response to Gambon’s passing.

The actor does not have a public social media account. Instead, he wrote in a tribute shared with Variety: “With the loss of Michael Gambon the world just became considerably less fun.

“Michael Gambon was one of the most brilliant, effortless actors I’ve ever had the privilege of working with, but despite his immense talent, the thing I will remember most about him is how much fun he had doing his job. He was silly, irreverent and hilarious.

“He loved his job, but never seemed defined by it. He was an incredible story and joke teller and his habit of blurring the lines of fact and fiction when talking to journalists meant that he was also one of the most entertaining people with whom you could ever wish to do a press junket.

“The sixth film was where I got to spend the most time working with Michael and he made the hours spent in front of a green screen together more memorable and joyous than they had any right to be,” Radcliffe added. “I’m so sad to hear he has passed, but I am so grateful for the fact that I am one of the lucky people who got to work with him.”

Gambon recalls story of his National Theatre Company audition in front of Laurence Olivier

Thursday 28 September 2023 23:50 , Tom Murray

The BBC archives has reshared a clip of Gambon recalling the time he auditioned for the National Theatre Company in front of Laurence Olivier.

Gambon recalled trying to impress the legendary actor with a rendition of Richard III; however, it ended in an unfortunate accident.

Emma Watson pays tribute

Friday 29 September 2023 00:45 , Tom Murray

“You never took it too seriously but somehow delivered the most serious moments with all the gravitas,” the Hermione Granger star wrote on her Instagram Story. “Thank you for showing us what it looks like to wear greatness lightly. We will miss you.”

Emma Watson Instagram Story (Emma Watson/Instagram)
Emma Watson Instagram Story (Emma Watson/Instagram)

Gambon’s ‘Layer Cake’ speech remembered

01:42 , Tom Murray

On social media, many fans are sharing Gambon’s Layer Cake monologue, which he delivers to Daniel Craig.

“You’re born, you take s***. You get out in the world, you take more s***. You climb a little higher, you take less s***. Till one day you’re up in the rarefied atmosphere and you’ve forgotten what s*** even looks like. Welcome to the layer cake son.” Poetry.

Michael Gambon explains his accent

02:40 , Tom Murray

In a resurfaced video, Michael Gambon explains his slightly confusing accent.

The actor was born in Dublin but moved to London when he was just six years old. He explains his accent is a mixture of Irish, Cockney and posh.

Jared Harris pays tribute to Gambon, who took over Dumbledore role from his father Richard

03:39 , Tom Murray

“A brilliant actor,” he wrote on Twitter/X. “I saw him on stage several times, and he lives unforgettably in my memory. He took over Dumbledore from my father, which was fitting as he over took Brando as my father’s favourite actor.”

Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins describes Gambon as ‘the loveliest of legends’

04:37 , Tom Murray

Jenkins said the actor “couldn’t have been kinder, calmer and more supportive” during her time on set in the 2010 Doctor Who Christmas special.

The singer, who portrayed Abigail, shared a photo of herself next to Gambon dressed as his character Kazran.

In a Facebook post, Jenkins said: “My dear Kazran! My first acting role was opposite Sir Michael Gambon in the Doctor Who Christmas Special.

“He couldn’t have been kinder, calmer and more supportive.

“Today we have lost the loveliest of legends.”

Poirot actor David Suchet pays tribute

05:35 , Tom Murray

“I am devastated that Dear Michael Gambon has died,” Suchet wrote on X/Twitter. “A truly great actor. I admired him so much. I send my love and sympathies to his family.”

Richard E Grant hails ‘The Great Gambon’

06:33 , Tom Murray

How Michael Gambon and Alan Rickman pranked Daniel Radcliffe on Harry Potter set

07:28 , Tom Murray

Recalling the trick in the film’s DVD extras, Radcliffe told his co-stars Rupert Grint and Emma Watson: “There was one time where, in this room actually, Michael Gambon and Alan Rickman, and I think [director Alfonso Cuarón] was co-ordinating it, took the opportunity to play a practical joke on me.”

Watson described the prank as being “really, really funny”, with Radcliffe adding: “For you.”

How Michael Gambon and Alan Rickman pranked Daniel Radcliffe on Harry Potter set