British Actor, Michael Gambon who played the role of the benevolent wizard Dumbledore in the movie Harry Potter has given up the ghost aged 82.
“The Great Gambon,” as Ralph Richardson once called him, died “peacefully in hospital with his wife Anne and son Fergus at his bedside, following a bout of pneumonia”.
A statement issued on behalf of his wife, Lady Anne Gambon, and son Fergus Gambon reads,
“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.
“We ask that you respect our privacy at this painful time and thank you for your messages of support and love”.
Gambon played the magical character in six of the eight films in the franchise ‘Harry Potter’, and also won four TV Baftas over the course of his five-decade career.
Harry Potter author JK Rowling has paid tribute to Gambon, recalling the first time she “laid eyes on him” in 1982.
“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 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.”
Eileen Atkins, who starred alongside Sir Michael in the revival of Samuel Beckett’s All That Fall and was his friend, also paid tribute to the ‘great actor’ on BBC Radio 4.
She gushed: “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.
“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.’
‘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,’ she continued. ‘I will always remember that man.”