'Harry Potter' actor Richard Griffiths dies at 65 - New York News

'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.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • NJ brush fire forces evacuations

    NJ brush fire forces evacuations

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:58 PM EDT2014-04-24 22:58:52 GMT
    A school and several homes in Ocean County were evacuated on Thursday afternoon because of a large brush fire that was being fanned by winds. Some residents returned a few hours later. The fire burned about half a square mile.
    A school and several homes in Ocean County were evacuated on Thursday afternoon because of a large brush fire that was being fanned by winds. Some residents returned a few hours later. The fire burned about half a square mile.
  • Startups flock to NY TechDay

    Startups flock to NY TechDay

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:40 PM EDT2014-04-24 22:40:26 GMT
    NY TechDay is where the hottest new startups come every year. More than 400 of them from all different countries come to check out the NYC tech scene. Our first stop at Pier 92 was Rent Hackr, a website with renter generated data to help apartment hunters. Then we checked out Karma, a portable Wi-Fi device that lets you share hot spots with friends.
    NY TechDay is where the hottest new startups come every year. More than 400 of them from all different countries come to check out the NYC tech scene. Our first stop at Pier 92 was Rent Hackr, a website with renter generated data to help apartment hunters. Then we checked out Karma, a portable Wi-Fi device that lets you share hot spots with friends.
  • PETA protests Central Park horse-drawn carriages

    PETA protests Central Park horse-drawn carriages

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:08 PM EDT2014-04-24 22:08:12 GMT
    Chanting the mayor's name in appreciation, some 50 demonstrators protested horse-drawn carriages in the city on Thursday. The protest was organized by PETA and NYCLASS after a horse fell on the corner of 5th Avenue and 59th Street Wednesday. The protestors said the horse was spooked by a bus and cited witness accounts who shot some video. The horse that fell is 15-year-old Spartacus.
    Chanting the mayor's name in appreciation, some 50 demonstrators protested horse-drawn carriages in the city on Thursday. The protest was organized by PETA and NYCLASS after a horse fell on the corner of 5th Avenue and 59th Street Wednesday. The protestors said the horse was spooked by a bus and cited witness accounts who shot some video. The horse that fell is 15-year-old Spartacus.
Powered by WorldNow
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