Richard Griffiths OBE, the Tony-winning star of stage and screen, has died at the age of 65. He had suffered complications following heart surgery.
Always a popular and in-demand actor, his speciality was playing highly educated and bumptious men, with a very high regard for themselves and very little patience for anyone else. It’s no coincidence that his three most memorable roles are known principally by their formalised names: Uncle Monty, Uncle Vernon and Mr Hector.
The most notorious of these was his startling turn as the depraved Uncle Monty in Withnail And I:
And the second, the resolutely, deliberately normal, but monstrously cruel Uncle Vernon, in the Harry Potter movies:
Then there was a more nuanced take on a similar sort of irascible, but also inspirational character, Mr Hector in The History Boys, for which he won his Tony award, and an Olivier award for the London run:
Then there was his detective/cookery show Pie in the Sky, for which his character was specially written with him in mind:
But it wasn’t all fine acting and nuance. See if you can spot him in amongst this lot:
By way of tribute, Daniel Radcliffe, who appeared with Richard in the stage revival of Equus, as well as the Harry Potter films, told BBC News: “Richard was by my side during two of the most important moments of my career. I was proud to know him.”
And from Twitter, both of Richard’s Withnail and I co-stars had this to add:
My beloved ‘Uncle Monty’ Richard Griffiths died last night. Chin-Chin my dear friend.
— Richard E. Grant (@RichardEGrant) March 29, 2013
A brilliant, funny, principled man, and a true gent. Led the way on Withnail & I. Wore his great skill lightly and his great heart out. RIP.
— Paul McGann (@pauljmcgann) March 29, 2013
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