Thespian gained fame in 'Potter' films
LONDON — Richard Griffiths was one of the great British stage actors of his generation, a heavy man with a light touch, whether in Shakespeare or Neil Simon. But for millions of movie fans, he will always be grumpy Uncle Vernon, the least magical of characters in the fantastical “Harry Potter” movies.
Griffiths died on Thursday in University Hospital in Coventry, central England, from complications after heart surgery, his agent, Simon Beresford, said. He was 65.
“Harry Potter” star Daniel Radcliffe paid tribute to the actor on Friday, saying that “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.
Griffiths won a Tony Award for “The History Boys” and appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows. But he will be most widely remembered as a pair of contrasting uncles — Harry Potter's Uncle Vernon Dursley and Uncle Monty in cult film “Withnail and I.”
A huge stage presence — through charisma as well as obesity — Griffiths created roles including the charismatic teacher Hector at the emotional heart of Alan Bennett's school drama “The History Boys.” He won an Olivier Award for the part in London and a Tony for the Broadway run, and repeated his performance in the 2006 film adaptation.
He had parts in movies ranging from historical dramas “Chariots of Fire” and “Gandhi” to slapstick farce “The Naked Gun 2½.”
Known for his sense of humor, large store of rambling theatrical anecdotes and occasional bursts of temper, Griffiths was renowned for shaming audience members whose cell phones rang during play 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. The pair had been due to reprise their roles in Los Angeles later this year.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins slip past Sharks, 3-2, in shootout
- Tenebrae returns for Connellsville’s St. Rita Roman Catholic Church
- Connellsville church collects goods, money for the needy
- Calm dad known for work ethic, culinary skills
- NFL coaches weigh in on Polamalu’s legacy
- Hempfield infant fights rare disease
- Pirates’ outfield may have few defensive peers
- Sex-soaked culture faulted for fraternity house parties
- Penguins notebook: Five defensemen dress against San Jose
- Penguins’ Letang leaves hospital, ‘day-to-day’ with concussion
- Starkey: Next frontier for Steelers offense