ENTERTAINMENT

Michael Gambon, actor who played Prof. Dumbledore in 6 ‘Harry Potter’ movies, dies at age 82

Sep 28, 2023, 6:07 AM | Updated: 8:15 am

FILE: Sir Michael Gambon attends the grand opening of Harry Potter: The Exhibition at Discovery Tim...

FILE: Sir Michael Gambon attends the grand opening of Harry Potter: The Exhibition at Discovery Times Square Exposition Center on April 4, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

LONDON (AP) — Veteran actor Michael Gambon, who was known to many for his portrayal of Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore in six of the eight “Harry Potter” films, has died, his publicist said Thursday. He was 82.

A statement by his family, issued by his publicist, said he died following “a bout of 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 son Fergus at his bedside,” his family said.

No matter what role he took on in a career that lasted more than five decades, Gambon was always instantly recognizable by the deep and drawling tones of his voice. He was cast as the much-loved Dumbledore after the death of his predecessor, Richard Harris, in 2002.

He once acknowledged not having read any of J. K. Rowling’s best-selling books, arguing that it was safer to follow the script rather than be too influenced by the books. That didn’t prevent him from embodying the spirit of Professor Dumbledore, the powerful wizard who fought against evil to protect his students.

Although the Potter role raised Gambon’s international profile and introduced him to a new generation of fans, he had long been recognized as one of Britain’s leading actors. His work spanned TV, theater and radio, and he starred in dozens of films from “Gosford Park” to “The King’s Speech” and the animated family movie “Paddington.”

Gambon was knighted for services to drama in 1998.

Born in Ireland on Oct. 19, 1940, Gambon was raised in London and originally trained as an engineer, following in the footsteps of his father. He made his theater debut in a production of “Othello” in Dublin.

In 1963 he got his first big break with a minor role in “Hamlet,” the National Theatre Company’s opening production, under the directorship of the legendary Laurence Olivier.

Gambon soon became a distinguished stage actor and received critical acclaim for his leading performance in “Life of Galileo” directed by John Dexter. He was frequently nominated for awards and won the Laurence Olivier award 3 times and the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards twice.

A multi-talented actor, Gambon was also the recipient of four coveted British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards for his television work.

He became a household name in Britain after his lead role in the 1986 BBC series “The Singing Detective,” written by Dennis Potter and considered a classic of British television drama. Gambon won the BAFTA for best actor for the role.

Gambon was versatile as an actor but once told the BBC of his preference for playing “villainous characters.” He played gangster Eddie Temple in the British crime thriller “Layer Cake” — a review of the film by the New York Times referred to Gambon as “reliably excellent” — and a Satanic crime boss in Peter Greenaway’s “The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover.”

He also had a part as King George V in the 2010 drama film “The King’s Speech.” In 2015 he returned to the works of J.K. Rowling, taking a leading role in the TV adaptation of her book “The Casual Vacancy.”

Gambon retired from the stage in 2015 after struggling to remember his lines in front of an audience due to his advancing age. He once told the Sunday Times Magazine: “It’s a horrible thing to admit, but I can’t do it. It breaks my heart.”

The actor was always protective when it came to his private life. He married Anne Miller and they had one son, Fergus. He later had two sons with set designer Philippa Hart.

KSL 5 TV Live

Entertainment

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, left, greets actor Matthew McConaughey at the 2024 summer meeting of the Nat...

Hannah Schoenbaum and Mead Gruver, Associated Press

Actor Matthew McConaughey tells governors he is still mulling future run for political office

Actor Matthew McConaughey continued to tease he might run for political office to a room full of governors Friday, joshing about drinking his brand of tequila with at least one of them the night before and taking advice from another to be himself if he ever does run.

1 day ago

Shelley Duvall and Robin Williams in "Popeye." (Walt Disney/Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock via CNN Ne...

CNN

Shelley Duvall, star of ‘The Shining,’ dead at 75

Shelley Duvall, best known for her roles in “The Shining” and several acclaimed Robert Altman films, has died, according to reports, citing a family spokesperson and her longtime partner.

2 days ago

Ashley and Ryan Smith spoke to KSL TV about their vision and passion to revitalize Salt Lake City. ...

Carole Mikita

Ryan and Ashley Smith have a vision for future of downtown, and believe it’s possible

Ryan and Ashley Smith imagine a revitalized downtown Salt Lake City and they believe it's possible.

4 days ago

husband and wife looking at each other...

Carole Mikita and Michael Houck, KSL TV

Meet the couple trying to revitalize Salt Lake City: Ashley and Ryan Smith

Ryan and Ashley Smith are Utah's new power couple. As owners of the Utah Jazz and the new NHL team, Real Salt Lake, and more, they find themselves in a position of influence.

5 days ago

FILE - This aerial photo shows part of the Bonanza Creek Ranch film set in Santa Fe, N.M., Oct. 23,...

Morgan Lee

Alec Baldwin arrives at courthouse for pretrial hearing over fatal shooting of cinematographer

A New Mexico judge is considering an array of restrictions on evidence, testimony and arguments ahead of a trial for Alec Baldwin.

6 days ago

Delaney Bayle, juggling bowling pins inside her famous living room....

Peter Rosen

The trick to Utah woman’s world-class juggling: Her living room

A Salt Lake City woman has been making a big name for herself in the juggling world and has been called a “phenom” and “the best female juggler ever.”

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

young male technician is repairing a printer at office...

Les Olson

Unraveling the dilemma between leasing and buying office technology

Carefully weigh these pros and cons to make an informed decision that best suits your business growth and day-to-day operation. 

A kitchen in a modern farmhouse....

Lighting Design

A room-by-room lighting guide for your home

Bookmark this room-by-room lighting guide whenever you decide to upgrade your lighting or style a new home.

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Michael Gambon, actor who played Prof. Dumbledore in 6 ‘Harry Potter’ movies, dies at age 82