Rest in peace, Richard Griffiths. The British actor died from complications after heart surgery at the University Hospital of Coventry and Warwickshire in England on Thursday, March 28. Griffiths — perhaps best known for his role as Vernon Dursley in the Harry Potter franchise — was 65.
Daniel Radcliffe, who shared the screen and the stage with Griffiths, shared his memories of the late actor with The BBC. “Richard was by my side during two of the most important moments of my career. In August 2000, before official production had even begun on Potter, we filmed a shot outside the Dursley’s, which was my first ever shot as Harry. I was nervous and he made me feel at ease,” Radcliffe, 23, recalled.
He added, “Seven years later, we embarked on Equus together. It was my first time doing a play but, terrified as I was, his encouragement, tutelage and humor made it a joy. In fact, 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.”
The actor also received acclaim for his role as Uncle Monty in the 1987 cult classic Withnail and I. During his illustrious theater career, Griffiths received a Tony Award and the Laurence Olivier Award for his performance in the play The History Boys; he reprised his role as Hector in the film version.
Sir Nicholas Hytner, director of the National Theatre, told The BBC Griffiths’ death would devastate an “army of friends.”
“Richard Griffiths wasn’t only one of the most loved and recognizable British actors — he was also one of the very greatest. His performance in The History Boys was quite overwhelming: a masterpiece of wit, delicacy, mischief and desolation, often simultaneously,” Hytner said. “His anecdotes were legendary. They were, literally, endless. They would go on for hours, apparently without destination, constantly side-splitting.”
Griffiths is survived by his wife, Heather Gibson, whom he married in 1980. The spouses met in 1973 during a production of Oscar Wilde‘s Lady Windermere’s Fan.
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