The family of Sir Michael Gambon announced that he passed away at the age of 82. He was famous for portraying Professor Albus Dumbledore in six Harry Potter movies.
The Dublin-born star worked in TV, film, theatre and radio his over six-decade career. He won four Baftas.
His widow Lady Gambon and son Fergus said their “beloved husband and father” died peacefully in hospital with his family by his side, following a bout of pneumonia.
Sir Michael’s family had moved to London when he was a child, but he made his very first stage performance in Ireland, in a production of Othello in Dublin in 1962.
His career took off when he became one of the original members of Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre acting company in London. He went on to win three Olivier awards for performances in National Theatre productions.
He played French detective Jules Maigret in the ITV series Maigret and was also known for his role as Philip Marlow in Dennis Potter’s The Singing Detective on the BBC.
Sir Michael took on the role of Dumbledore – headmaster of wizarding school Hogwarts – in the hit Harry Potter series, based on JK Rowling’s novels, after the death of Richard Harris in 2003.
Fiona Shaw, who played Petunia Dursley in the films, told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One: “He varied his career remarkably and never judged what he was doing, he just played.”
She said she would always think of him “as a trickster, just a brilliant, magnificent trickster”, adding: “With text, there was nothing like him. He could do anything.”
Dame Eileen Atkins, a longstanding friend of Sir Michael, told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One he was “a great actor, but he always pretended he didn’t take it very seriously” and that he had amazing stage presence.
“He just had to walk on stage and he commanded the whole audience immediately,” she said. “There was something very sweet about him, this huge man who could look very frightening – but there was something incredibly sweet inside Michael.”