LONDON: Richard Griffiths, the versatile British Actor who played Harry Potter’s unsympathetic Uncle ‘Mr. Vernon Dursley’ in the Harry Potter franchise passed away 28 March 2013 at the age of 65.
His agent Simon Beresford announced today that Griffiths died of complications following a heart surgery at University Hospital in Coventry, Central London.
“He was a remarkable man and one of our greatest and best-loved actors” Beresford said.
Richard Griffiths was born in Thornaby-on-Tees in Yorkshire, Northern England, his father was a steelworker. Both his parents were deaf so, he learned sign language to communicate with them. After studying drama in Manchester, he worked in radio and theatre, building a reputation as a Shakespearean clown.
An actor of stage, film and television, Richard Griffiths was known for his sense of humour, large store of theatrical anecdotes and occasional bursts of temper. He was recognized for his roles in ‘Withnail and I’ and the ‘Harry Potter’ films. He also played Henry Crabbe, a disillusioned police officer in the crime procedural TV series ‘Pie in the Sky’. He received a Tony Award, a Laurence Olivier Award and the Outer Critics Circle Award for his performance as Hector, the tragic teacher in ‘The History Boys’ — a part he took on Broadway and also played on screen, eventually.
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.”
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. I am proud to say I knew him. 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,” said Daniel Radcliffe.
“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 humour made it a joy. In fact, any room he walked into was made twice as funny and twice as clever just by his presence, ” he added.
Griffiths’ last major stage role was in Neil Simon’s comedy ‘The Sunshine Boys’ opposite Danny DeVito last year.
We will always remember you Richard Griffiths. No one could have brought ‘Uncle Vernon’ to life like you did.