News / Arts & Entertainment

Harry Potter Actor Griffiths Dies After Surgery

British actor Richard Griffiths at the British premiere of movie
British actor Richard Griffiths at the British premiere of movie "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" in London, (File Photo).
Reuters
British actor Richard Griffiths, best known for his roles in Withnail and I and the Harry Potter films, has died at the age of 65 after complications following heart surgery, his agent said on Friday.

Griffiths spent almost four decades in radio, film, on television and on stage, and received some of his industry’s top awards for his role in Alan Bennett’s play “The History Boys”.

The portly actor filled the screen as the lascivious Uncle Monty in the cult 1987 film Withnail and I.

But younger fans will remember him for his portrayal of a much crueler avuncular figure - Harry Potter’s red-faced and bullying uncle Vernon Dursley.

Daniel Radcliffe, who played the boy wizard and performed with Griffiths in the stage play “Equus”, said the veteran performer had encouraged and coached him and helped him get over his nerves.

“Richard was by my side during two of the most important moments of my career ... any room he walked into was made twice as funny and twice as clever just by his presence. I am proud to say I knew him,” Radcliffe said in a statement.
 
Griffiths’ agent, Simon Beresford, described him as “a remarkable man and one of our greatest and best-loved actors”. He said Griffiths died in hospital on Thursday.
 
The actor was born in Thornaby-on-Tees in Yorkshire, northern England, the son of a steelworker. Both his parents were deaf and 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.
 
He reprised his role as teacher Hector in a film of “The History Boys” in 2006. One of his best known roles on television was a cookery-loving detective in “Pie in the Sky”.
 
On stage, he was known for his intolerance of mobile phones ringing during performances, and halted plays several times to complain and even eject offending audience members.
 
Nicholas Hytner, director of Britain’s National Theatre, said Griffiths’ unexpected death would devastate his “army of friends”.
 
"Richard Griffiths wasn’t only one of the most loved and recognisable British actors - he was also one of the very greatest," Hytner said in a statement.
 
Griffiths was given an OBE in 2008 and is survived by his wife Heather.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”