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Michael Gambon, Dumbledore in ‘Harry Potter’ films, dead at 82

Four-time BAFTA-winning British actor also starred in Gosford Park, The King's Speech, and The Singing Detective

By Daniel Kreps

Michael Gambon (Picture: Getty)

Michael Gambon, the BAFTA-winning British actor best known for portraying Professor Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter film series, has died at the age of 82.

Gambon died following a bout with pneumonia, his publicist told the BBC. His family added in a statement, “We are devastated to announce the loss of Sir Michael Gambon. Beloved husband and father, Michael died peacefully in hospital with his wife Anne and son Fergus at his bedside.”

One of the United Kingdom’s most decorated actors on both stage and screen, Gambon won the BAFTA for Best Actor four times, including three consecutive years from 2000 to 2002 for Wives and DaughtersLongitude, and Perfect Strangers.

Two years later, Gambon landed his most high-profile role, taking over for the late Richard Harris as the Harry Potter series’ Professor Albus Dumbledore. Gambon played the beloved Hogwarts leader in six films, from 2004’s Prisoner of Azkaban to the series-ending Deathly Hallows – Part 2 in 2011.

Other notable roles in his storied career include the titular thief in the 1989 crime film The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, a pair of Wes Anderson films — The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, and a voice role in The Fantastic Mr. Fox — as well as Gosford ParkSleepy HollowThe King’s Speech, and Kingsman: The Golden Circle.

In the U.K, Gambon is also remembered for playing The Singing Detective in a six-part series that’s considered one of greatest British series of all time.

On the stage, Gambon was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor in 1997 for Skylight, his lone Broadway role; however, over the course of his career, he received 13 Olivier Awards nominations – the British equivalent of the Tonys – for his stage roles, including three wins. He was also nominated for an Emmy and Golden Globe for his portrayal of U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson in the 2002 TV movie Path to War.

Gambon retired from the stage in 2015, citing issues memorizing his lines. However, he continued to appear on screen in films like Paddington 2King of Thieves, and the Judy Garland biopic Judy.