Harry Potter actor Sir Michael Gambon has passed away, here's what happened

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The legendary actor was best known for his portrayal of Headmaster of Hogwarts Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series.

The world of cinema and theater is mourning the loss of the iconic actor, Sir Michael Gambon, who passed away peacefully in hospital at the age of 82. Gambon's illustrious career spanned over six decades, making him one of the most revered actors.

Best known for his portrayal of Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter film series, Gambon's versatility and talent extended far beyond the magical world of Hogwarts. He was a revered figure in the acting community, earning accolades and admiration from fellow actors and audiences alike.

Tributes from fellow stars

A statement issued on behalf of his family, wife Lady Anne Gambon and son Fergus Gambon, conveyed their devastation:

'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.'

Fellow actors and friends remembered Gambon fondly, with Fiona Shaw, who co-starred with him in the Harry Potter series, describing him as a 'brilliant, magnificent trickster' and Dame Eileen Atkins acknowledging his ability to command the entire audience with a mere presence on stage.

James Phelps, who played Fred Weasley in the films, paid tribute to Gambon on X (formerly known as Twitter): 'Very sorry to hear about the passing of Michael Gambon. He was, on and off the camera, a legend. Just a little memory of Michael.'

A look back at Gambon's brilliant career

Gambon's journey into the world of acting was unconventional, as he left school at the age of 15 and did not receive formal training at a drama school. Instead, he honed his craft through amateur productions and sheer determination. His career began with a debut in Othello in Dublin in 1962, leading to a prominent role in the National Theatre in London, where he worked extensively and gained recognition for his talent.

Over the years, Gambon's stage performances drew acclaim in a wide range of roles, including those in plays by Harold Pinter, Samuel Beckett, and Alan Ayckbourn. Ayckbourn himself praised Gambon's stage presence, describing it as 'more an act of spontaneous combustion' than traditional acting.

Harry Potter actor Sir Michael Gambon has passed away, here's what happened  Larry Ellis Collection

Notable theatrical achievements included his Olivier award-winning performance in Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge and his role in Ayckbourn's ambitious trilogy, The Norman Conquests. His portrayal of the eponymous scientist in Brecht's The Life of Galileo at the National Theatre in 1980 and his Tony award-nominated role in David Hare's Skylight on Broadway in the mid-90s further solidified his reputation as a stage virtuoso.

Extraordinary film career: Harry Potter and more

Gambon's contributions to the world of film were equally impressive. He starred in a diverse range of movies, from the arthouse success of Peter Greenaway's The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover to major productions like Sleepy Hollow, The Insider, and Gosford Park. However, it was his portrayal of Albus Dumbledore, the wise and enigmatic headmaster of Hogwarts, in the Harry Potter films that introduced him to a new generation of fans. More recently, he appeared in a Dad's Army reboot, Sky Atlantic's Fortitude and the biographical film about Judy Garland.

Gambon's impact extended to television as well, where he enjoyed success with series like The Singing Detective and Maigret. His unmistakable voice also found its way into various films and video games, including his role as Uncle Pastuzo in the Paddington movies and as the narrator of the Coen brothers' film Hail, Caesar!

In 2015, at the age of 74, Gambon made the difficult decision to retire from stage acting due to memory loss, which had been affecting his ability to remember lines. This marked the end of an era for a performer who had graced the stage with his remarkable talent for decades.

He married Anne Miller in 1962 and became a father when their son, Fergus, was born in 1964. By 2002, Gambon began a relationship with Philippa Hart. In addition to his son Fergus, he is survived by Philippa and their two young sons, Michael, born in 2007, and William in 2009.

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© Mike Marshall

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