Michael Gambon, best known to global audiences for playing the wise professor Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter film franchise and regarded as one of the greatest British performers by Arthur Miller and others, has died. He was 82.
Gambon’s family announced his death via a public relations firm in a brief statement released on Thursday.
“Michael died peacefully in hospital with his wife, Anne, and son Fergus at his bedside, following a bout of pneumonia,” the statement said.
Gambon began his career on stage in the early 1960s and eventually moved on to television and film.
He played a psychotic crime boss in Peter Greenaway’s 1989 film The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover, as well as an elderly King George V in Tom Hooper’s 2010 film The King’s Speech.
His most well-known role, though, was as Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series, which he took over from the third film in the eight-film series after Richard Harris died in 2002.
Gambon played himself “with a stuck-on beard and a long robe,” he remarked, dismissing the acclaim for his performance.
Following the news of his death, there has been an outpour of tribute from fans all around the world and co-stars alike.
Daniel Radcliffe said the “brilliant, effortless” actor “loved his job but never seemed defined by it”.
Emma Watson thanked Sir Michael for “showing us what it looks like to wear greatness lightly”.
Writer JK Rowling hailed a “wonderful man” and “outstanding actor”.