Veteran actor Michael Gambon, who was known to many for his portrayal of Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore in six of the eight Harry Potter films, passed away on Thursday. He was 82.
Born in Ireland on October 19, 1940, Gambon was raised in London and originally trained as an engineer, following in the footsteps of his father. He made his theatre debut in a production of Othello in Dublin.
No matter what role he took on in a career that lasted more than five decades, Gambon was always instantly recognisable by the deep and drawling tones of his voice. He was cast as the much-loved Dumbledore after the death of his predecessor, Richard Harris, in 2002.
He once acknowledged not having read any of JK Rowling’s best-selling books, arguing that it was safer to follow the script rather than be too influenced by the books. That didn’t prevent him from embodying the spirit of Professor Dumbledore, the powerful wizard who fought against evil to protect his students.
Although the Potter role raised Gambon’s international profile and introduced him to a new generation of fans, he had long been recognised as one of Britain’s leading actors. His work spanned TV, theatre and radio, and he starred in dozens of films from Gosford Park to The King’s Speech and the animated family movie Paddington. Gambon was knighted for services to drama in 1998. — AP
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