'Harry Potter' actor Richard Griffiths dies at 65 - FOX 35 News Orlando

'Harry Potter' actor Richard Griffiths dies at 65

Posted: Updated:

LONDON (AP) -- Richard Griffiths, the versatile British actor who played the boy wizard's unsympathetic Uncle Vernon in the "Harry Potter" movies, has died. He was 65.

Agent Simon Beresford announced Friday that Griffiths died a day earlier of complications following heart surgery at University Hospital in Coventry, central England.

He paid tribute to Griffiths as "a remarkable man and one of our greatest and best-loved actors."

Griffiths appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows, but will be most widely remembered as a pair of contrasting uncles -- the hero's grudging Muggle guardian in the "Harry Potter" series, and flamboyant Uncle Monty in 1980s cult classic "Withnail and I."

"I was proud to say I knew him," said "Harry Potter" star Daniel Radcliffe.

A large man and a huge stage presence, Griffiths was one of Britain's leading theater actors, creating roles including the charismatic teacher Hector at the emotional heart of Alan Bennett's "The History Boys" -- a part he took to Broadway, winning a Tony Award, and repeated for the film adaptation.

National Theatre artistic director Nicholas Hytner, who directed "The History Boys," called Griffiths' performance in that play "a masterpiece of wit, delicacy, mischief and desolation, often simultaneously."

Griffiths also played poet W.H. Auden in Bennett's "The Habit of Art," a hugely persuasive performance despite the lack of physical resemblance between the two men.

Known for his sense of humor, large store of theatrical anecdotes and occasional bursts of temper, Griffiths was renowned for shaming audience members whose cell phones rang during plays by stopping the performance and ordering the offender to leave.

Griffiths' last major stage role was in a West End production of Neil Simon's comedy "The Sunshine Boys" last year opposite Danny DeVito.

In 2007 he appeared in a London production of "Equus" alongside the then 17-year-old Radcliffe.

"Richard was by my side during two of the most important moments of my career," Radcliffe said Friday.

"In August 2000, before official production had even begun on Potter, we filmed a shot outside the Dursleys', which was my first ever shot as Harry. I was nervous and he made me feel at ease.

"Seven years later, we embarked on `Equus' together. It was my first time doing a play but, terrified as I was, his encouragement, tutelage and humor made it a joy.

"In fact, any room he walked into was made twice as funny and twice as clever just by his presence."

Griffiths is survived by his wife, Heather Gibson.

  • EntertainmentMore>>

  • Christopher Nolan, Matthew McConaughey surprise fans at Comic-Con

    Christopher Nolan, Matthew McConaughey surprise fans at Comic-Con

    Comic-Con got off to a great start Thursday when the Paramount panel abruptly ushered off Megan Fox mid-Q&A, replacing her with a surprise appearance.
    Comic-Con got off to a great start Thursday when the Paramount panel abruptly ushered off Megan Fox mid-Q&A, replacing her with a surprise appearance.
  • Kim Kardashian shares North West's first steps

    Kim Kardashian shares North West's first steps

    Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's daughter North West reached a big milestone this week: The 1-year-old took her first steps!
    Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's daughter North West reached a big milestone this week: The 1-year-old took her first steps!
  • Dwayne Johnson hosts 'Hercules' screening for NYC children

    Dwayne Johnson hosts 'Hercules' screening for NYC children

    Thursday, July 24 2014 10:30 PM EDT2014-07-25 02:30:48 GMT
    When he's not slaying three-headed beasts with his olive-wood club, Hercules carves out time for the little people. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson treated fans from the Harlem Boys and Girls Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters NYC to an advance screening of his new film. I caught up with the larger-than-life action hero after the big surprise.
    When he's not slaying three-headed beasts with his olive-wood club, Hercules carves out time for the little people. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson treated fans from the Harlem Boys and Girls Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters NYC to an advance screening of his new film. I caught up with the larger-than-life action hero after the big surprise.
Powered by WorldNow

35 Skyline Drive
Lake Mary, FL 32746

Phone: (407) 644-3535
News Tips: (866) 55-FOX35

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices