Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and J.K. Rowling are among the Harry Potter franchise stars that have paid tribute to the late Michael Gambon, who has died at the age of 82.
The giant of the British stage became beloved by U.S. audiences after taking over the role of Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore for six films — starting with 2004’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban following the passing of Richard Harris. Gambon died peacefully in the hospital surrounded by his family after a bout of pneumonia, according to a statement from the Irish actor’s family provided to The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday.
Radcliffe, who starred as the book-to-screen franchise’s titular character, Harry Potter, celebrated Gambon’s spirited personality and dedication to his craft.
“With the loss of Michael Gambon the world just became considerably less fun. Michael Gambon was one of the most brilliant, effortless actors I’ve ever had the privilege of working with, but despite his immense talent, the thing I will remember most about him is how much fun he had doing his job,” Radcliffe said in a statement provided to The Hollywood Reporter. “He was silly, irreverent and hilarious. He loved his job, but never seemed defined by it. He was an incredible story and joke teller, and his habit of blurring the lines of fact and fiction when talking to journalists meant that he was also one of the most entertaining people with whom you could ever wish to do a press junket.”
Radcliffe went on to recall working with Gambon the most during the franchise’s sixth film, “where he made the hours spent in front of a green screen together more memorable and joyous than they had any right to be. I’m so sad to hear he has passed, but I am so grateful for the fact that I am one of the lucky people who got to work with him.”
Co-star Rupert Grint, who played the memorable redheaded best friend to Potter, Ron Weasley, called Gambon a “role model” in an Instagram tribute. “So sad to hear about Michael. He brought so much warmth and mischief to every day on set. He captivated me as a kid and became a personal role model of mine for finding the fun and eccentricities in life. Sending all my love to his family.”
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling also took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to celebrate the work and life of the “brilliant actor,” with whom she worked on both the young adult franchise and The Casual Vacancy.
“The first time I ever laid eyes on him was in King Lear, in 1982, and if you’d told me then that brilliant actor would appear in anything I’d written, I’d have thought you were insane,” she wrote. “Michael was a wonderful man in additional to being an outstanding actor, and I absolutely loved working with him.”
In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s The World at One, actress Fiona Shaw — who played Harry’s aunt Petunia Dursley — remembered him “as a trickster, just a brilliant, magnificent trickster.”
She added, “With text, there was nothing like him. He could do anything,” she added. “He varied his career remarkably and never judged what he was doing, he just played.”
Read more tributes to Gambon from the cast and creatives behind Harry Potter below.