MANILA, Philippines – British actor Richard Griffiths, who played the antagonistic uncle of Harry Potter in the film series, has died at the age of 65 due to complications following heart surgery, BBC reported.
Griffiths was best known for playing Vernon Dursley in the Harry Potter films.
His Harry Potter co-star Daniel Radcliffe – who also appeared on stage with him in Equus – paid him tribute.
“Richard was by my side during two of the most important moments of my career,” Radcliffe said, referring to his first scene as the boy wizard and his stage debut.
Radcliffe said Griffiths’ “encouragement, tutelage and humor made it a joy.”
Watch Richard Griffiths and Daniel Radcliffe being interviewed about Equus here:
Griffiths enjoyed a long career of success on film and on TV, and also on the stage where he was a Tony-winning character actor. TV roles included playing a cookery-loving detective in Pie in the Sky.
He was appointed an Order of the British Empire in the 2008 New Year Honours.
In 2009, Griffiths joined calls for help for people living with HIV in Africa.
Watch Richard Griffiths’s “See Africa Differently” video campaign here:
‘Life of every party’
His agent Simon Beresford said the late star “brightened my days and enriched the life of anyone he came into contact with.”
“Richard gave acting a good name. He was a remarkable man and one of our greatest and best-loved actors. He will be greatly missed,” he said in a statement.
Griffiths will be forever remembered by fans of cult classic “Withnail & I” as the amorous Uncle Monty.
Nicholas Hytner, who directed Griffiths in one of his biggest hits in Britain, The History Boys, said he was “the life of every party.”
Griffiths won several awards for his theatre role as an inspirational teacher in The History Boys in London and New York, and later won a Bafta nomination for his role in the film version.
“His performance in The History Boys was quite overwhelming: a masterpiece of wit, delicacy, mischief and desolation, often simultaneously,” said Hytner, the director of the National Theatre in London.
“But that was just one small part of a career that spanned Shakespeare, cutting-edge new plays and major work in film and television.”
The actor was from Yorkshire in northern England. – with a report from Agence France-Presse / Rappler.com
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