The magical world is in mourning. Sir Michael Gambon, the actor who played the character of Albus Dumbledore in the ‘Harry Potter’ films, died this Thursday at the age of 82. The actor died “peacefully” after suffering from pneumonia. “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 his son Fergus at his bedside, following a bout of pneumonia. Michael was 82 years old. We ask that you respect our privacy at this painful time and we thank you for your messages of support and love,” reads the full statement from the family to the British media.
The Witham actor had a long and successful career in film, television and theatre, although he will be forever remembered for his role as Albus Dumbledore in the ‘Harry Potter’ films. The magical saga recruited him for the cause starting with the third installment ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’, after the death of Richard Harris, who played the character in the first two films. Among his filmography, films such as ‘The King’s Speech’, ‘The Book of Eli’ and ‘Sleepy Hollow’ also stand out. Gambon had also played the famous detective Maigret in ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’.
Despite being mainly recognized on the big screen, Gambon was highly successful in the theater, starring in works by authors such as William Shakespeare, Samuel Beckett, Alan Ayckbourn and Harold Pinter. After graduating from the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, Gambon made his professional debut in 1962 with the play ‘Othello’, later beginning a tour of Europe that would open the doors to the general public. During an audition in which he performed a soliloquy from the play ‘Richard III’, he caught the attention of Laurence Olivier, who was recruiting promising actors for his new company at the Royal National Theater in London, where he began taking roles in plays such as ‘ Hamlet’.
He rose to stardom in 1974 when he participated in Alan Ayckbourn’s ‘The Norman Conques’, and years later he managed to find a place in the most important works of the Royal National Theatre. Thanks to his success in the world of acting, in 1998, Queen Elizabeth II appointed him Knight Bachelor for his acting contribution to the United Kingdom. A recognition that came eight years after Prince Charles of Wales appointed him Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), becoming not only an acting legend, but a figure for the United Kingdom.
In 2015, he decided to retire from the stage due to a memory loss problem that prevented him from memorizing the scripts. He stated that for some time he had only accepted short roles and always acted with a backup headset from which he could be reminded of his script lines if needed. He played some roles on the big screen after retiring from theaters, and ended his career in 2019 playing Bernard Delfont in the film Judy, directed by Rupert Goold.
Among his achievements, four BAFTA awards stand out as best actor for his roles in ‘The Singing Detective’, ‘Wives and Daughters’, ‘Longitude’ and ‘Perfect Strangers’. He also won two Screen Actors Guild Awards, as well as two Emmy nominations and one Golden Globe nomination.
Michael Gambon joins the list of actors from the famous magical saga who have recently died. A year ago, Robbie Coltrane, who played the role of Hagrid, died at the age of 72. In 2016, the famous actor Alan Rickman, who played Severus Snape in all the films in the saga, also died from pancreatic cancer. Three of the most charismatic characters from the ‘Harry Potter’ saga who have raised their wands to the sky.
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