Irish actor Michael Gambon has passed away aged 82, his family said on Thursday. Gambon received multiple awards over a six-decade career, and is best known for his portrayal of Professor Albus Dumbledore in the ‘Harry Potter’ film series.
“We are devastated to announce the loss of Sir Michael Gambon,” the Gambon family said in a statement. “Beloved husband and father, Michael died peacefully in hospital with his wife Anne and son Fergus at his bedside, following a bout of pneumonia.”
Born in the Dublin suburb of Cabra, Gambon worked as an engineering technician in London before landing a role in a production of Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’ at Dublin’s Gate Theatre in 1962. Recruited to legendary thespian Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre Company a year later, Gambon went on to star in more than 80 productions, including ‘Hamlet’, ‘Macbeth’, and ‘Coriolanus’.
Already a veteran of the silver screen by 2004, Gambon endeared himself to younger audiences when he assumed the role of Professor Albus Dumbledore in ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’, following the death of Richard Harris a year prior. Gambon played the Hogwarts headmaster in the five subsequent Harry Potter movies.
“We are incredibly saddened to hear of the passing of Sir Michael Gambon,” the Harry Potter social media account stated on Thursday. “He brought immeasurable joy to Harry Potter fans from all over the world with his humour, kindness and grace. We will forever hold his memory in our hearts.”
Throughout his career, Gambon received three Tony awards, two Screen Actors Guild awards, and four BAFTAs. Gambon was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1999 for services to the entertainment industry.
Gambon married mathematician Anne Miller in 1962, and the couple had one son, Fergus. The late actor also fathered two sons with girlfriend Philippa Hart, with whom he had a long-running affair.