Harry Potter stars lead tributes to actor Sir Michael Gambon after death aged 82

The stars of Harry Potter are among the many who have paid tribute to the actor Sir Michael Gambon, who died at the age of 82

JK Rowling, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson are among those who have paid tribute to Sir Michael Gambon after he died at the age of 82.

The Dublin-born star of stage and screen has been hailed as a "wonderful man" and "outstanding actor".

A statement on behalf of his wife Lady Gambon and son Fergus Gambon, issued by publicist Clair Dobbs, said: "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. Michael was 82.

"We ask that you respect our privacy at this painful time and thank you for your messages of support and love."

Sir Michael was famed for his role as Albus Dumbledore. Credit: Warner Bros

Born in the Cabra suburb of Dublin to Irish parents, the star's family moved to London when he was six-years-old.

Sir Michael, who won four TV Baftas, is known for his extensive back catalogue of work across TV, film, radio and theatre over a career spanning five decades.

He is well-known for taking on the role of Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter film series from 2004 to 2011, replacing the late Richard Harris.

Series star Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter, hailed Sr Michael as "one of the most brilliant, effortless actors" he has ever worked with, as he paid tribute to his co-star.

Radcliffe played the wizard alongside the late actor's Albus Dumbledore for six out of the eight films in the franchise.

"With the loss of Michael Gambon the world just became considerably less fun”, Radcliffe said in a statement.

The cast of Harry Potter, with Michael Gambon standing beside Rupert Grint. Credit: PA

“Michael Gambon was one of the most brilliant, effortless actors I’ve ever had the privilege of working with, but despite his immense talent, the thing I will remember most about him is how much fun he had doing his job. He was silly, irreverent and hilarious. He loved his job, but never seemed defined by it.

“He was an incredible story and joke teller and his habit of blurring the lines of fact and fiction when talking to journalists meant that he was also one of the most entertaining people with whom you could ever wish to do a press junket.

“The sixth film was where I got to spend the most time working with Michael and he made the hours spent in front of a green screen together more memorable and joyous than they had any right to be. I’m so sad to hear he has passed, but I am so grateful for the fact that I am one of the lucky people who got to work with him.”

Series star Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger, wrote on Instagram: "Kind kind Michael Gambon.

Sir Michael Gambon (left) and Peter Bowles for the play Man of the Moment at the Globe Theatre in 1990. Credit: PA

"You never took it too seriously but somehow delivered the most serious moments with all the gravitas. Thank you for showing us what it looks like to wear greatness lightly.

"We will miss you. xx"

Rupert Grint, who starred as Ron Weasely, said Sir Michael had been a “personal role model” for him.

Grint also said on Instragram: “So sad to hear about Michael.

"He brought so much warmth and mischief to every day on set.

"He captivated me as a kid and became a personal role model of mine for finding the fun and eccentricities in life.

"Sending all my love to his family, Rupert.”

Sir Michael starred as French detective Jules Maigret in ITV series Maigret, and for starring in the BBC series, The Singing Detective.

He made his first appearance on stage in a production of Othello at the Gates Theatre, Dublin in 1962 and was knighted for his contribution to the entertainment industry in 1998.

He put in a memorable performance in the BBC’s 2015 adaptation of JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy and his illustrious theatre career includes appearances in Alan Ayckbourn’s The Norman Conquests, The Life Of Galileo and Nicholas Hytner’s National Theatre production of Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2.

In 2016 he appeared as Private Godfrey in the big screen adaptation of Dad’s Army, and his other film roles included period dramas such as 2010’s The King’s Speech, 2001’s Gosford Park and 2017’s Victoria & Abdul.

Also in 2017, Sir Michael received the Irish Film & Television Academy Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2020, he was listed at number 28 on The Irish Times' list of Ireland's greatest film actors.

While on Top Gear in 2002, the actor damaged a Suzuki Liana when two right wheels clipped the final corner towards to the finish line.

He admitted the track was very wet and thus, it earned its name name "Gambon corner".

A myriad of industry names have taken to social media to pay tribute.

Former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson said: “I’m so sad to hear that Michael Gambon has died,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

“He was hugely amusing, and such a tremendous guest, we even named a corner after him.”

Irish film and TV actress Fiona Shaw has said she will remember her Harry Potter co-star for being a “brilliant, magnificent trickster”.

Shaw, who played Petunia Dursley in the film franchise, told BBC Radio 4: “I will remember him because he was also a gun maker, he could he could make guns, he always said he could fool the V&A into believing that they were 18th century guns.

“So I will think of him as a trickster, just brilliant, magnificent trickster, but with text, there was nothing like him, he could do anything.”

Jason Isaacs, who starred in the franchise as deatheater Lucius Malfoy, also wrote how Sir Michael had "shared his fearless, filthy sense of fun" with him.

Sir Michael (far left) with the rest of the Harry Potter cast, including Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, in 2009. Credit: PA

Another co-star, James Phelps, who played Fred Weasley in the series, described him as “a legend”.

“Very sorry to hear about the passing of Michael Gambon. He was, on and off the camera, a legend,” he posted.

Dame Eileen Atkins has said there was something “very sweet” about him, while Dame Joan Collins paid tribute by saying Sir Michael was “a great actor and great fun.”

Irish premier Leo Varadkar hailed him as a great actor who “gave his all to every performance”.

Mr Varadkar wrote: “Rest In Peace. A great actor.

Actress Helen Mirren with actor Michael Gambon after he received the best Actor award in 2001. Credit: PA

"Whether performing in (Samuel) Beckett, or a Dennis Potter or Harry Potter, he gave his all to every performance."

Sir Michael was also recognised by American awards with Emmy nominations for Mr Woodhouse in 2010 for an adaption of Jane Austen’s Emma and as former US president Lyndon B Johnson in Path To War in 2002.

His turn in David Hare play Skylight, about the fallout of an affair, also led to a Tony nod in 1997 and earlier in 1990 he secured an Olivier Award for comedy performance of the year for diplomatic comedy Man Of The Moment at the Globe, now the Gielgud Theatre.

While speaking about the series The Casual Vacancy, in which he plays the cunning chairman on the parish council, Sir Michael said he was “quite good” at villainous characters as there is “more meat” on them.

Actor Michael Gambon, while he was receiving an Honorary Doctorate of Arts in 2002. Credit: PA

He also said: “I’ve been an actor for so many years now; the only people I ever meet are actors and kindred spirits. My whole world is actors, really. We’re all very nice.”

Sir Michael also appeared in psychological drama Cordelia and Judy Garland biopic Judy, both released in 2019, crime drama King Of Thieves alongside Sir Michael Caine and Jim Broadbent in 2018, and action movie Kingsman: The Golden Circle in 2017.

The Bafta gongs went to his main acting roles for family BBC drama Perfect Strangers in 2002, as a clockmaker hoping to win a prize in Channel 4’s Longitude in 2001, BBC Elizabeth Gaskell adaption Wives And Daughters in 2000 and BBC serial The Singing Detective in 1987.

He also had parts in director Wes Anderson comedy films 2004’s The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou and 2009’s Fantastic Mr Fox.

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