Sir Michael Gambon, the iconic actor best known for his portrayal of Professor Albus Dumbledore in six of the eight Harry Potter films, has died at the age of 82, according to his family.
Gambon, born in Dublin, Ireland, but a British citizen since his childhood, had a career spanning six decades, excelling in TV, film, theater, and radio. He was a four-time BAFTA winner.
Gambon’s family announced that he peacefully passed away in a hospital due to pneumonia, with family members at his side. Gambon is survived by family: His widow Lady Anne Gambon and the couple’s son, Fergus; as well as his lover, set designer Philippa Hart, and their sons, Tom and Will.
Gambon’s career began with a memorable stage performance in Dublin’s production of Othello in 1962. He gained prominence as one of the original members of Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre acting company in London, earning three Olivier awards for his performances in National Theatre productions.
In addition to his stage work, Gambon played notable roles in television, including portraying French detective Jules Maigret in the ITV series Maigret and Philip Marlow in Dennis Potter’s The Singing Detective on the BBC.
Gambon’s most iconic role, however, was as Professor Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts, in the highly successful Harry Potter film series. He took on the role after the death of Richard Harris in 2003, appearing in six of the eight films.
Fiona Shaw, who played Petunia Dursley in the Harry Potter films, praised Gambon’s remarkable career and his ability to adapt to diverse roles.
Gambon’s versatility and dedication to his craft were widely acknowledged. He was fondly remembered for his role in the entertainment industry, earning him the nickname “The Great Gambon” in acting circles. His filmography included notable titles such as Dad’s Army, Gosford Park, and The King’s Speech, where he portrayed King George V.
He received Emmy nominations for his roles in TV adaptations like Jane Austen’s Emma in 2010 and his portrayal of President Lyndon B. Johnson in Path to War in 2002. In 1997, he received a Tony nomination for his role in David Hare’s play Skylight.
Gambon’s contributions to the entertainment industry were recognized with a knighthood in 1998.
Despite his towering presence on stage and screen, friends and colleagues remembered Gambon as a warm and sweet individual with an extraordinary stage presence.
Sir Michael Gambon’s last stage appearance was in 2012 in a London production of Samuel Beckett’s play All That Fall. He continued to captivate audiences with his performances until his retirement.
Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Leo Varadkar paid tribute to the actor, stating he was, “A great actor. Whether performing in Beckett, Dennis Potter, or Harry Potter, he gave his all to every performance.”