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Richard Griffiths, ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Withnail & I’ star, dies at 65

By Daniel S Levine,

Richard Griffiths, the well-known British actor who recently starred in the Harry Potter series, has died at age 65.

The BBC reports that the acclaimed actor, who earned an OBE in 2008, died from complications after heart surgery.

In a statement, agent Simon Beresford called him a “remarkable man,” adding, “On stage he allowed us to share in our own humanity and constantly question our differences. Richard gave acting a good name. He was a remarkable man and one of our greatest and best-loved actors. He will be greatly missed.”

Griffiths was born in Thornaby-on-Tees, North Yorkshire and, after his studies, he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company. He started his career on television and movies in the early 1970s and landed parts in bigger films in the 1980s. He appeared in Superman II, Chariots of Fire, Ghandi and in 1987, he scored one of his most memorable roles in the cult comedy Withnail & I. Younger movie fans today know him as Uncle Vernon in the Harry Potter films.

Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter, remembered working with Griffiths fondly. “Richard was by my side during two of the most important moments of my career,” he said in a statement, reports The Guardian. “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.”

Radcliffe also worked with Griffiths on the stage for Equus. While he was nervous, Radcliffe noted that Griffiths’ “encouragement, tutelage and humour made it a joy.”

Griffiths was married to Heather Gibson, who he met in 1973 while in a stage production together. His best-known role on the stage was in The History Boys, which earned him awards in the West End and Broadway.

 
 

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