Michael Gambon dies at 82

Multi-award winning actor takes his final bow

by Jennie Kermode

Michael Gambon in Peter Greenaway's The Cook, The Thief, His Wife And Her Lover
Michael Gambon in Peter Greenaway's The Cook, The Thief, His Wife And Her Lover

Michael Gambon, once a towering presence on the British stage, and a man much admired for his performances in film, has died at the age of 82. He had recently been hospitalised with pneumonia but passed away peacefully with his wife Anne and son Fergus at his side, according to a family statement.

Gambon, a member of Laurence Olivier's National Theatre company, was highly praised for his interpretations of Ayckbourn and Beckett characters, and won three Olivier awards for his stage work. He was forced to retire in 2015 when memory loss led to him struggling with his lines. Announcing at the time that he had no intention of giving up acting altogether, He remained active in film for another four years.

Best known to younger generations for his portrayal of the wizard Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films, Gambon also leant his redoubtable presence to the likes of Plunkett & Macleane, The King's Speech, Gosford Park and The Cook, The Thief, His Wife And Her Lover. His eclectic film career also included oddities like The Beast Must Die, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow and Hail, Caesar!, while on the small screen he was acclaimed for his work in Dennis Potter's The Singing Detective.

With his distinctive baritone, Gambon also worked as a voice actor, playing a memorable Badger in The Wind In The Willows in 1985, and taking on the role of Mr Bean in Wes Anderson's version of Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Over the course of his career, Gambon won four BAFTAs and two SAG awards. He was knighted in 1999 for services to drama.

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