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Tributes are paid to actor Richard Griffiths

Tributes are paid to actor Richard Griffiths

TRIBUTES have been paid to the actor Richard Griffiths who has passed away at the age of 65.

Mr. Griffiths had enjoyed success on the stage as well as in television and film. He achieved a double in the theatre after winning a Tony Award in New York and an Olivier Award in London for his role in Alan Bennett’s The History Boys (see below).

He recreated his role of the charismatic teacher Hector when the play was turned into a movie in 2006.

For many younger fans he will be remembered for playing Vernon Dursley in the Harry Potter films.

He will also be remembered for playing the character Uncle Monty in the cult film Withnail and I (1987), see below.

Among his best known work in television was as the detective-cum-chef Henry Crabbe in Pie In The Sky.

Mr. Griffiths had originally left school at 15 but later returned to education. He developed a desire to become an actor when a teacher took him to see his first professional theatre production at 17. After studying drama at the Northern College of Music in Manchester, he eventually joined the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Although he enjoyed a successful acting career, Mr. Griffiths once admitted that he had found it difficult to make money from acting. However, this was to change after he landed the role in the Harry Potter films.

In the past several years, his work on stage had included a London production of Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys, in which he starred with Danny Devito. He was due to appear in a production of the play in Los Angeles.

He was appointed an O.B.E. in 2008 for his services to drama.

Among the many tributes was one from Sir Nicholas Hytner, director of the National Theatre. He said: “Richard Griffiths wasn’t only one of the most loved and recognisable British actors — he was also one of the very greatest.”

Mr. Griffiths passed away after suffering complications following heart surgery.

He is survived by his wife, the actress Heather Gibson, who is from Northern Ireland.

To view an interview in which Mr. Griffiths discusses The History Boys, click here.

To see an excerpt from Withnail and I featuring Mr. Griffiths, click here.

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