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|Also Known As:||Michael John Gambon, Sir Michael Gambon||Died:|
|Born:||October 19, 1940||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Dublin, IE||Profession:||actor, factory custodian|
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arry Potter" series in 2010-11, Gambon portrayed King George V opposite Colin Firth in the Oscar-winning historical drama "The Kingâ¿¿s Speech" (2010). On the small screen, he played the Director General of MI5 opposite a longtime intelligence officer and best friend (Bill Nighy) in the British made-for-TV movie "Page Eight" (BBC2, 2011)."A Man of No Importance" (1994), as an overripe actor, and "The Browning Version" (1994), as a callous headmaster emphasizing modern literature over the classics â¿¿ as well as back-to-back appearances opposite Michael Caine as the deadpan spy Harry Palmer in "Bullet to Beijing" (1995) and "Midnight in Saint Petersburg" (1996). Television again remained his most faithful medium, offering terrific roles like the dangerous spy Robert Kelway in a Pinter-scripted adaptation of "The Heat of the Day (Granada TV, 1989) and the title role in the second season of "The Storyteller," which adapted myths and stories from around the world as part of "The Jim Henson Hour" (NBC, 1989). Gambon also returned briefly to series work as Georges Simenon's detective "Inspector Maigret" (ITV, 1992-93).Gambon stayed away from Hollywood for several years, preferring to work on stage and in...
arry Potter" series in 2010-11, Gambon portrayed King George V opposite Colin Firth in the Oscar-winning historical drama "The Kingâ¿¿s Speech" (2010). On the small screen, he played the Director General of MI5 opposite a longtime intelligence officer and best friend (Bill Nighy) in the British made-for-TV movie "Page Eight" (BBC2, 2011)."A Man of No Importance" (1994), as an overripe actor, and "The Browning Version" (1994), as a callous headmaster emphasizing modern literature over the classics â¿¿ as well as back-to-back appearances opposite Michael Caine as the deadpan spy Harry Palmer in "Bullet to Beijing" (1995) and "Midnight in Saint Petersburg" (1996). Television again remained his most faithful medium, offering terrific roles like the dangerous spy Robert Kelway in a Pinter-scripted adaptation of "The Heat of the Day (Granada TV, 1989) and the title role in the second season of "The Storyteller," which adapted myths and stories from around the world as part of "The Jim Henson Hour" (NBC, 1989). Gambon also returned briefly to series work as Georges Simenon's detective "Inspector Maigret" (ITV, 1992-93).
Gambon stayed away from Hollywood for several years, preferring to work on stage and in homegrown film productions. The roles in this period were more fitting to an actor of his stature â¿¿ "The Wings of the Dove" (1997) cast him as Helena Bonham Carter's dissolute father, who has reduced her family to poverty, while his senile Father Jack Mundy "Dancing at Lughnasa" (1998) brings chaos into the lives of his ebullient sisters, led by Meryl Streep. However, he was lured back to America by director Michael Mann, who cast him as Thomas Sandefur, CEO of tobacco giant Brown & Williamson, who attempts to prevent whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe) from spilling the truth about cigarette toxicity. He then shifted gears to play the villainous Baltus Van Tassel, whose wife (Miranda Richardson) controls Christopher Walken's Headless Horseman in Tim Burton's "Sleepy Hollow" (1999). A major summer hit, "Hollow" provided Gambon with his first box office smash; the decade also closed with the actor receiving two honors from Queen Elizabeth II: a Commander of the British Empire appointment in 1992 and a knighthood in 1998. In typical fashion, Gambon played down the titles, half-jokingly threatening anyone on the set of "Angels in America" (HBO, 2003) who referred to him as "Sir" with physical violence. As his film career took flight, Gambon also stayed true to his theatrical roots. He earned an Olivier nomination and a special Theatre World Award for David Hare's "Skylight," which provided him with his Broadway debut in 1997. Other stage highlights during this period included Pinter's "The Caretaker," which earned a Critics' Circle Theatre Award in 2001, and Olivier nominations for "Endgame" in 2004 and "No Man's Land" in 2009.
With the turn of the millennium, Gambon hit his stride as a film and television actor. Robert Altman's Oscar-nominated "Gosford Park" (2000) offered him the plum role of an unpleasant English royal whose laundry list of sins against family and staff result in his murder, while Gillian Armstrong's "Charlotte Grey" (2001) provided a more sympathetic part as a retired painter concealing his Jewish heritage from the Nazis during World War II. Gambon then earned Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for his sympathetic interpretation of President Lyndon Johnson in John Frankenheimer's "The Path to War" (HBO, 2002), then turned back to the dark side as a corrupt Irish landowner in Kevin Costner's critically praised Western, "Open Range" (2003). By the early 2000s, Gambon's film career was in full swing, with no less than five films to his credit in 2003, and six the following year. Some were impressive art house titles, like "Sylvia" (2004), with Gwyneth Paltrow as poetess Sylvia Plath and Gambon as the neighbor who lends her a comforting shoulder during her tumultuous relationship to p t Ted Hughes. Others were ambitious misfires, like the sci-fi adventure "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" (2004), which reunited him with Paltrow as the editor of a fictitious New York newspaper, and Wes Anderson's "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" (2004), with Gambon as the crass producer of faded oceanographer Bill Murray's documentaries.
Despite the quality and prominence of his previous screen work, the film role that would largely come to define Gambon's movie career was that of the wizard Albus Dumbledore, which he took over for the late Richard Harris in the third film of the "Harry Potter" franchise, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" (2004). This was not the first time Gambon had replaced Harris in a role; the Irish actor had played Inspector Maigret on UK television for a season before Gambon took over the role, and the transition for the fantasy series was an equally smooth one, with Gambon adding a layer of rueful regret to the role, as well as a slight Welsh accent. Audiences took to Gambon as Dumbledore immediately, and he repeated the character for the remainder of the series, which stretched from the fourth film, the Oscar-nominated "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" (2005), to its two-part finale, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" (2010-11). Off camera, Gambon gleefully cultivated a reputation as a prankster, especially in interviews with the press, where he frequently led reporters on flights of wild fancy about his career and personal life. He was also a popular guest on the BBC's "Top Gear" series (1977-2001; 2002- ), especially after an appearance in which he took the final corner on the Dunsfold Park racetrack on two wheels. The corner was later dubbed "Gambon" in his honor.
With the "Potter" series providing steady financial income, Gambon was comfortable enough to lighten his film load to only a few features per year so as to return to his first love â¿¿ the theater. In 2005, he satisfying a long-standing career goal to play Falstaff in both parts of "Henry IV," then returned to the works of Beckett for "Eh, Joe," directed by Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan in 2006. The production required Gambon to remain still onstage while a camera projected his reactions to a female voice narrating a litany of the ways in which he hurt her. Filmwork during this period was hit-and-miss. Gambon chewed the scenery mercilessly as the archaeologist who warns Liev Schreiber that his son is the Anti-Christ in the 2006 remake of "The Omen," then gave a quieter turn as Matt Damon's p try professor who warns him against a career in espionage in Robert De Niro's "The Good Shepherd" (2006). The 2008 film version of "Brideshead Revisited" received mixed reviews, but Gambon's performance as Lord Marchmain â¿¿ played previously by his mentor, Laurence Olivier, in the 1981 Granada Television adaptation â¿¿ was widely praised.
Gambon later returned to television and the works of Pinter for "Celebration" (More4, 2007), then re-teamed with Stephen Poliakoff â¿¿ with whom he had worked in 2001 on "Perfect Strangers" (BBC2) â¿¿ for "Joe's Palace" (2007), a companion piece to "Capturing Mary" (BBC, 2007), with Danny Lee Wynter's J now caring for the home of a billionaire (Gambon) whose family may have profited from the Holocaust. That same year, he enjoyed a small but significant role in "Cranford" (BBC1, 2007), a comedy-drama about village life in the 19th century with an all-star cast led by Dame Judi Dench, with Gambon as the farmer who carries a torch for her. He then reunited with Wes Anderson to voice the famer Franklin Bean in the animated "Fantastic Mr. Fox" (2009) before playing a post-apocalyptic survivor who refuses to abandon simple civilities in "The Book of Eli" (2010). That same year, Gambon received his second Emmy nomination for the BBC1 adaptation of "Emma" (2009), for which he played the sickly but devoted father of Jane Austen's titular heroine (Romola Garai). After reprising Dumbledore for the final installments to the "H h
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CAST: (feature film)
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Gambon was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1990.
Gambon has been known to shake-up the complacency of a long-running stage play by tossing other actors unrehearsed lines, entering from the wrong side of a set, or exited through a window when a door is more than handy. "All true," he said. "Done quite deliberately. How else can you stop your performance from becoming stale, wooden? I don't care about the consequences--they can't be worse than performing like a robot."
"You have to be a movie star to be a celebrity. ... Theater actors are just tolerated, smiled at"--Gambon quoted in New York Post, YORK POST, September 19, 1996.
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