The word “great” is somewhat promiscuously applied to actors. But it was undoubtedly deserved by Sir Michael Gambon, who has died aged 82 after suffering from pneumonia.
He had weight, presence, authority, vocal power and a chameleon-like ability to reinvent himself from one part to another. He was a natural for heavyweight classic roles such as Lear and – in the days when white actors habitually played the role – Othello. But what was truly remarkable was Gambon’s interpretative skill in the work of the best contemporary dramatists, including Harold Pinter, Alan Ayckbourn, David Hare, Caryl Churchill and Simon Gray.
Although he was a fine TV and film actor – and forever identified in the popular imagination with Professor Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter franchise – the stage was his natural territory. It is also no accident that, in his private life, Gambon was an expert on, and assiduous collector of, machine tools and firearms for, as Peter Hall once said: “Fate gave him genius but he uses it as a craftsman.”
Off-stage, he was also a larger-than-life figure and [ . . . ] Continue at The Guardian