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Richard Griffiths

Richard Griffiths

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: July 31, 1947 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Thornaby-on-Tees, England, GB Profession: actor, messenger boy, porter

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

After a career on stage and screen in his native Britain, where he was renowned as both a Shakespearean clown and a fine dramatic player, Richard Griffiths saw his profile rise across the Atlantic after portraying the lustily gay Uncle Monty in the cult classic "Withnail and I" (1987). Prior to that long-remembered breakout performance, Griffiths was a frequent performer with the Royal Shakespeare Company before he began landing small, but significant roles in award-winning films like "Chariots of Fire" (1981) and "Gandhi" (1982). From there, he was the British husband of Elaine Stritch on "Nobody's Perfect" (ITV, 1980-82) and a cynical lawyer in "Gorky Park" (1983). After "Withnail and I," Griffiths delivered a memorable dual performance in "The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear" (1991) and earned a new generation of fans for his often brief, but unforgettable turn as comic villain Uncle Vernon Dursley in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (2001). While reprising the role in four of the seven films in the franchise, Griffiths maintained a steady presence on stage and screen as one of Britain's finest comedic characters actors.

After a career on stage and screen in his native Britain, where he was renowned as both a Shakespearean clown and a fine dramatic player, Richard Griffiths saw his profile rise across the Atlantic after portraying the lustily gay Uncle Monty in the cult classic "Withnail and I" (1987). Prior to that long-remembered breakout performance, Griffiths was a frequent performer with the Royal Shakespeare Company before he began landing small, but significant roles in award-winning films like "Chariots of Fire" (1981) and "Gandhi" (1982). From there, he was the British husband of Elaine Stritch on "Nobody's Perfect" (ITV, 1980-82) and a cynical lawyer in "Gorky Park" (1983). After "Withnail and I," Griffiths delivered a memorable dual performance in "The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear" (1991) and earned a new generation of fans for his often brief, but unforgettable turn as comic villain Uncle Vernon Dursley in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (2001). While reprising the role in four of the seven films in the franchise, Griffiths maintained a steady presence on stage and screen as one of Britain's finest comedic characters actors.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Private Peaceful (2011)
2.
 Hugo (2011)
5.
 Ballet Shoes (2008)
6.
 Bedtime Stories (2008)
8.
 Venus (2006)
9.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1970:
Was member of BBC Radio Drama repertory company
1974:
Made TV debut in small roles on Granada TV dramas "Crown Court' and "Village Hall"
1975:
Joined Royal Shakespeare Company
1975:
Made first film appearance in "It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet"; re-released three years later as "All Things Bright and Beautiful"
1977:
Offered impressive turn as Bottom in Royal Shakespeare Company production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
1979:
Won raves for performances as Lariosik in "The White Guard" on London stage
1980:
Played the husband of an American (Elaine Stritch) living in England on ITV comedy "Nobody's Perfect"
1981:
Landed minor role in Oscar-winning film "Chariots of Fire"
1982:
Played a British reporter in "Gandhi"
1982:
Perfectly cast as Sir John Falstaff in BBC TV production of "The Merry Wives of Windsor"
1982:
Played lead role of computer programmer Henry Jay in four-part BBC drama "Bird of Prey"
1983:
First significant film role, "Gorky Park"
1984:
Portrayed "Henry VIII" at Royal Shakespeare Company
1984:
Reprised role of Henry Jay for "Bird of Prey 2"
1986:
Co-starred with Madonna and Sean Penn in box office bomb "Shanghai Surprise"
1987:
Delivered memorable performance as the lusty Uncle Monty in "Withnail and I"
1987:
Starred as a wine merchant on British comedy series "Ffizz" (ITV)
1988:
Cast as a teacher who moves from Bolton to London with his resentful wife and newborn child on British series "A Kind of Living" (ITV)
1991:
Played dual roles of a German scientist and an American Southerner in "The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear"
1994:
Played title role in "The Life of Galileo" at Almeida Theatre in London
1994:
Starred as a mild-mannered policeman who runs a restaurant on BBC series "Pie in the Sky"
1995:
Featured in "Funny Bones"
1999:
Played one of the magistrates in "Sleepy Hollow"
2000:
Offered a memorable performance as the corpulent kitchen master in British miniseries "Gormenghast" (BBC)
2000:
Portrayed a doctor in "Vatel"
2001:
Cast as the young hero's evil Uncle Dursley in feature adaptation of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"
2001:
Co-starred in London stage production of "Luther" alongside Rufus Sewell
2002:
Reprised role of Uncle Dursley for "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets"
2004:
Again played Uncle Dursley in "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban"
2004:
Starred opposite Claire Danes and Billy Crudup in "Stage Beauty"
2006:
Portrayed a beloved teacher in Broadway production of "The History Boys"
2006:
Reprised role for film version of "The History Boys"
2006:
Starred opposite Peter O'Toole in "Venus"
2007:
Reunited with "Harry Potter" star Daniel Radcliffe in stage revival of Peter Shaffer's "Equus" at Gielgud Theatre in London; play transferred to Broadway 2008
2007:
Reprised role of Uncle Dursley for "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"
2008:
Co-starred with Adam Sandler in "Bedtime Stories"
2010:
Reprised role of Uncle Vernon for seventh and final installment of the series "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1," directed by David Yates
2011:
Portrayed King George II in "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," the fourth installment in popular series
2011:
Cast in Martin Scorsese¿s family adventure "Hugo"
2012:
Played the Duke of Burgundy in "Henry V" installment of miniseries "The Hollow Crown" (BBC)
2012:
Last major stage role, a West End production of Neil Simon's comedy "The Sunshine Boys" opposite Danny DeVito
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Royal Northern College of Music: Manchester , England -
Stockton & Billingham College: - 1963

Notes

Received an honorary degree from the University of Durham in 1998.

"It was a silent and lonely childhood. My father became a bitter man and my mother was damaged by him spiritually. I was very miserable for many years." --Richard Griffiths quoted in The Observer, February 6, 1994.

"The big shy kid had presence. He had this unusual quality. I think his whole history has been one of more and more producers and directors discovering something that was there from the very beginning." --British TV writer Richard Prine on Richard Griffiths in Connoisseur September 1983.

"That was the dream, you see. I'd though it would take me ten years to get to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, if I was very lucky. It had taken me five. I was home. I was free to do the work. And however small the part was, I was free to make the play my part's play, the play seen from the perspective of one small character in it. I was free, too, to start to make use of all the little things I'd somehow picked up along the way, how every breath carries with it an emotional phrase, how to stand. ..." --Griffiths in ^Connoisseur, September 1983.

"Griffiths, 46, is often at his best in roles which taste and cunning seem struggling to express themselves through his suetty form -- as if a fox were trapped inside a hedgehog or an Elisabeth Frink sculpture in Mr. Blobby." --James Saynor writing in The Observer, February 6, 1994.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Heather Gibson. Together from the 1980s.

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