Michael Gambon has died at the age of 82. The beloved English actor had a lengthy and prodigious career in theater, television, radio, and film, and was known for his portrayal of Albus Dumbledore in the “Harry Potter” films.
Gambon’s death was confirmed by a statement released on behalf of his family. He was battling a bout of pneumonia. “We are devastated to announce the loss of Sir Michael Gambon,” reads the statement. “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.”
Gambon was born in Cabra, Dublin, and lived in London most of his life. He studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, making his debut in “Othello,” in 1962. He worked alongside icons like Laurence Olivier and was appointed as Commander of the Order of the British Empire and as a Knight Bachelor for his contribution to the arts. In 2004, Gambon starred in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” the third film in the franchise. He supplanted Richard Harris, who played Albus Dumbledore in the first two films. Gambon brought a steely edge to the role, one that would neatly fit the remainder of the franchise, which grew darker and showed Dumbledore as a more complex character.
Gambon’s costars share moving tributes
Following the announcement of his passing, his costars have shared their memories of working with Chabon. Fiona Shaw, who played Aunt Petunia in Harry Potter, spoke about Chabon on BBC Radio 4, calling him “a brilliant, magnificent trickster”.
James Phelps, who played Fred Weasley, also shared some memories of working with Chabon. “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 wrote on Twitter. “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.”