Michael Gambon

Date Of Birth:
19 October 1940
Date Of Death:
27 September 2023
Place Of Birth:
Dublin, Ireland
Best Known As:
Headmaster Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films
Sir Michael Gambon was the Irish-British actor whose long career stretched from doing Shakespeare with Sir Laurence Olivier at the Royal National Theater in the 1960s to playing the good-guy wizard Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films of the 21st century. Michael Gambon was born in Dublin, but raised in England after his family moved there when Gambon was six. He became a British citizen and went to Catholic schools in greater London. At age 16 he began training as an apprentice engineer while acting in amateur theater on the side. By his 20s he was acting full-time, and Olivier invited him to join the Royal National Theater. In 1967 he moved to the Birmingham Repertory Company, where he played leading roles like Othello and Macbeth and began to gain real notice. From there, Gambon went on to a career that was both wide and deep onstage, on television, and in the movies. Throughout his life he was a regular on live theater stages in London and Dublin, playing roles by Pinter, Shakespeare, Beckett, and the rest. He finally retired from the stage in 2015, saying his memorization skills were no longer up to the mark. On TV, during his young-and-handsome years, he gained wide acclaim (and won a BAFTA award) for his title role in the strange and innovative miniseries The Singing Detective (1986). He also played Inspector Jules Maigret, the beloved French fictional detective created by Georges Simenon, in a 12-part ITV series titled Maigret (1992-93). Among his notable film roles, he starred opposite Helen Mirren in the crazy arthouse film The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989), and played a wealthy-but-doomed industrialist in Gosford Park (2001). In later years, his craggy face, silver hair and angel's-wing eyebrows made him ideal for roles like the crime lord Eddie Temple in the tough drama Layer Cake (2004, with Daniel Craig) and wealthy-but-doomed King George V in The King's Speech (2010, with Colin Firth). When actor Richard Harris died in 2002, Gambon took over the role of Albus Dumbledore for the third film in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004). Dumbledore is the white-bearded sub-Gandalf figure who is headmaster at Hogwarts School and Harry's ally in the fight against the evil Voldemort. Gambon remained in the role through the series' final installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007). Michael Gambon was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1998 for his services to the theater.
Extra Credit

Michael Gambon was married to mathematician Anne Miller from 1962 until his death in 2023; she was reportedly at his bedside when he died. They had one son, Fergus, who has appeared as an expert on the TV series Antiques Roadshow. From about 2000 on, Gambon also had a relationship with the set designer Philippa Hart; they had two sons, born in 2007 and 2009.

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