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Legendary actor in Harry Porter, King George movies who died of pneumonia

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With a career spanning over five decades, Michael Gambon left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry through his captivating performances and unwavering dedication to his craft. From his iconic portrayal of “Albus Dumbledore” in the Harry Potter series to his compelling roles in critically acclaimed films, he enchanted audiences worldwide with his remarkable abilities.

As we celebrate the life and work of this extraordinary actor, it is with a heavy heart that we must also acknowledge his passing. On September 27, 2023, Michael Gambon bid farewell to the stage of life. This piece pays tribute to the captivating career of Michael Gambon, exploring the roles that defined him and the impact he had on the world of entertainment.

Michael Gambon biography

Michael Gambon

Sir Michael John Gambon CBE (October 19, 1940-September 27, 2023) was a distinguished Irish-English actor. His mother, Mary (formerly known as Hoare), worked as a seamstress, and his father, Edward Gambon, served as an engineering operative during World War II. Edward Gambon decided to seek employment in the post-war reconstruction of London, leading to the family’s move to Mornington Crescent in London’s Camden borough when Michael Gambon was six years old. At that time, his father arranged for him to become a British citizen, a decision that later allowed him to receive a substantive knighthood.

Raised in a strict Catholic household, the younger Gambon attended St. Aloysius Boys’ School in Somers Town and served as an altar boy. He later enrolled at St Aloysius’ College in Highgate, where notable alumni included actor Peter Sellers.

Subsequently, he relocated to North End, Kent, and attended Crayford Secondary School but left without obtaining any qualifications at the age of 15. Gambon then embarked on an apprenticeship as a toolmaker with Vickers-Armstrongs. By the age of 21, he had become a qualified engineering technician. He continued in this role for another year, nurturing a lifelong passion for collecting antique guns, clocks, watches and classic cars.

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Michael Gambon career

Michael Gambon in a movie

Gambon made his professional stage debut in the Gate Theatre’s 1962 production of Othello, playing the role of the “Second Gentleman”. A year later, he caught the eye of Laurence Olivier, who was recruiting promising actors for his new National Theatre Company, during an audition where he performed the opening soliloquy from Richard III.

Gambon, along with Robert Stephens, Derek Jacobi and Frank Finlay, was hired as one of those destined for renown and took on various roles, often credited as “Mike Gambon”. The company initially performed at the Old Vic, with its first production being Hamlet, directed by Olivier and starring Peter O’Toole. For four years, Gambon appeared in numerous National Theatre productions, including named roles in The Recruiting Officer and The Royal Hunt of the Sun, working with directors William Gaskill and John Dexter.

After three years at the Old Vic, Olivier advised Gambon to gain experience in provincial rep. In 1967, he left the National Theatre for the Birmingham Repertory Company, which was to give him his first crack at the title roles in Othello (his favourite), Macbeth, and Coriolanus.

Gambon’s powerful voice and presence were to serve him in good stead in John Dexter’s masterly staging of “The Life of Galileo” by Bertolt Brecht at the National Theatre in 1980, the first Brecht play to become a popular success. Hall called him “unsentimental, dangerous and immensely powerful”, and The Sunday Times called his performance “a decisive step in the direction of great tragedy… great acting”. Also, fellow actors paid him the rare compliment of applauding him in the dressing room on the first night.

The National Theatre staged a revival of A View from the Bridge in 1987 at the Cottesloe Theatre. It was directed by Alan Ayckbourn, and Gambon gave an acclaimed performance as “Eddie”. Commenting on his performance, The Guardian said: “In the first place it shows Michael Gambon shaking hands with greatness.”

Ralph Richardson dubbed him The Great Gambon, an accolade which stuck, although Gambon dismissed it as a circus slogan. But as Sheridan Morley perceptively remarked in 2000, when reviewing Nicholas Wright’s Cressida: “Gambon’s eccentricity on stage now begins to rival that of his great mentor Richardson.”

Gambon was a very private person, a “non-starry star” as Alan Ayckbourn, a British playwright, called him. Off-stage he preferred to stay out of the limelight. He won screen acclaim, whilst his ravaged “King Lear at Stratford”, while he was still in his early forties, formed a double act with a red-nosed Antony Sher as the Fool sitting on his master’s knee like a ventriloquist’s doll.

In 2004, he starred in five films, which included Wes Anderson’s cult comedy “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” the British gangster film, Layer Cake; and the theatrical drama, Being Julia.

In 2007, Gambon appeared in Michael Apted’s historical drama, Amazing Grace, alongside Ioan Gruffudd, Romola Garai, Benedict Cumberbatch, Albert Finney and Rufus Sewell. That same year, he played significant roles in the acclaimed BBC five-part adaptation of Mrs. Gaskell’s Cranford novels, starring alongside Judi Dench and Imelda Staunton and in Stephen Poliakoff’s Joe’s Palace.

One of his most well-known roles is that of “Albus Dumbledore”, Hogwarts’ headmaster, which he took on in the third instalment of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter franchise, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Gambon reprised this role in subsequent Harry Potter films, including Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.

In 2010, Gambon appeared in Tom Hooper’s historical drama, The King’s Speech as “King George V”. The film received 12 Academy Awards nominations in 2011 and won four Oscars, including “Best Picture”, “Best Director”, “Best Actor” and “Best Adapted Screenplay”.

In 2015 and 2018, Gambon played the role of “Henry Tyson” in the first and third series of Sky Atlantic’s Fortitude.

In March 2018, it was announced that Gambon would appear in the comedy series, Breeders. Unfortunately, in April 2019, it was reported that he had to leave the series due to difficulties in memorising lines caused by his struggles with memory loss.

In 2017, Gambon was honoured with the Irish Film & Television Academy Lifetime Achievement Award. Additionally, in 2020, he achieved the notable ranking of No. 27 on The Irish Times’s list of Ireland’s greatest film actors.

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Michael Gambon movies

Michael Gambon talking

Here are some notable movies in which Michael Gambon appeared, along with his roles.

  • The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989)
    – Role: Albert Spica
  • The Insider (1999)
    – Role: Thomas Sandefur
  • Gosford Park (2001)
    – Role: William McCordle
  • Harry Potter Series (2004-2011)
    – Role: Albus Dumbledore
  • The King’s Speech (2010)
    – Role: King George V
  • Quartet (2012)
    – Role: Cedric Livingston
  • The Hollow Crown (2012)
    – Role: Falstaff
  • Paddington 2 (2017)
    – Role: Uncle Pastuzo (voice)
  • Judi Dench: All the World’s Her Stage (2016)
    – Role: Himself

Michael Gambon’s net worth

Gambon had a net worth of $20 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

Michael Gambon family

Michael Gambon smiling

Gambon got married to mathematician Anne Miller in 1962 at the age of 22. Known for his protective stance on privacy, he once responded to an interviewer’s question about his wife with a playful “What wife?” joke. The couple had residences in Gravesend, Kent, and Aldeburgh, Suffolk. They had one son, Fergus, who later gained recognition as a ceramics expert on the BBC series, Antiques Roadshow.

During the filming of the 2001 movie, Gosford Park, Gambon brought Philippa Hart, a woman 25 years his junior, to the set and introduced her to his co-stars as his girlfriend. When news of their affair became public in 2002, he moved out of his shared home with his wife, although they later reconciled.

His relationship with Hart, a set designer, began in 2000 while they worked together on the Channel 4 series Longitude. In February 2007, it was revealed that Hart was expecting Gambon’s child, and she gave birth to a son. The couple welcomed a second son in 2009 and owned a home in West London.

Michael Gambon age

Gambon was born on October 19, 1940. He died at the age of 82

Michael Gambon Death

Michael Gambon passed away in Witham, a town in the county of Essex, England, on September 27, 2023, at the age of 82. His wife Anne and son Fergus were with him during his final moments and he died following a battle with pneumonia.

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