Harry Potter actor Michael Gambon dead at 82

Published: 29/9/2023

Harry Potter star Michael Gambon has died peacefully in hospital aged 82, his family have announced.

The star, who famously played Dumbledore in many of the Harry Potter films, passed away after contracting pneumonia. 

He had been acting for more than half a century.

A statement on behalf of his wife Anne Miller and son Fergus Gambon said:

"We are devastated to announce the loss of Sir Michael Gambon.

Daniel Radcliffe praised Michael Gambon.
Daniel Radcliffe praised 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 also had two other children with his long term partner Philippa Hart.

Michael Gambon the actor who played Dumbledore (pictured) in five of the Harry Potter films..jpeg
Michael Gambon the actor who played Dumbledore (pictured) in five of the Harry Potter films..jpeg

Born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1940, Gambon first qualified as an engineer and toolmaker before discovering acting.  

The legendary star quickly rose to fame thanks to his distinctive booming voice and powerful presence on both stage and screen.    

He made his film debut in Shakespeare's Othello alongside Laurence Olivier in 1965, and since then had roles in a variety of Hollywood movies. His films have included The Cook, The Thief, The Wife and Her Lover, Sleepy Hollow, Fantastic Mr Fox, The King's Speech, and Paddington.  

His first appearance in the JK Rowling franchise came in The Prisoner of Azkaban in 2004 where he took over the role of Dumbledore from the late Richard Harris, who died after the Chamber of Secrets. He would appear in four more instalments.    

The official Harry Potter Twitter/X account praised Gambon after news broke of this death.  

"He brought immeasurable joy to Harry Potter fans from all over the world with his humour, kindness and grace. We will forever hold his memory in our hearts."  

James Phelps, who played Fred Weasley, in the film, relayed a story about how Gambon helped him rehearse a script despite the star being busy on the set of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

"He was, on and off the camera, a legend," said Phelps, who added that Gambon was always "very funny and were welcoming to share any knowledge he had".

He was best known for playing Dumbledore in <i>Harry Potter</i>.
He was best known for playing Dumbledore in <i>Harry Potter</i>.

Gambon appeared in numerous TV shows including an award-winning role in the BBC's 1986 series The Singing Detective where he played the lead role of an author suffering from a chronic skin condition.

Away from the screen, Gambon was a qualified pilot and car enthusiast.

On British motoring show Top Gear he raced a Suzuki Liana on a test track so aggressively it went around a corner on two wheels. That corner was then named "Gambon Corner".

Long time Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson said he was sad to hear of Gambon's passing.

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

Throughout his career the actor would regularly appear in Shakespeare productions with the National Theatre - delighting audiences up and down the country.

The 82-year-old won four BAFTAs for his TV work, three Oliver Awards and two Screen Actors Guild Award's.

In 1998 he was knighted in The Queen's New Years' Honours for services to drama.

Sir Michael Gambon is survived by wife Anne Miller and son Fergus. He also had a relationship with Philippa Hart with who he had two children, the youngest of which is a young teenager.

With The Sun.

Michael Gambon: The iconic actor died peacefully in hospital aged 82.
Michael Gambon: The iconic actor died peacefully in hospital aged 82.

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