I was very sorry to hear today of the death of Richard Griffiths, one of Britain's most celebrated character actors, who died from complications following heart surgery. The stage and screen performer, who played Uncle Vernon Dursley in the Harry Potter films, was 65. The married actor, was born in Thornaby-on-Tees, North Yorkshire, and grew up caring for his deaf parents and was awarded an OBE for services to drama in 2008. He was a Tony-winning character actor and an inspiration to many actors for his subtle and often quietly comic roles.
I personally remember him for many of his roles and particularly for his hilarious role as an accountant who falls in love with a pig about to be slaughtered in the Handmade Films movie, A Private Function, and for his role as the quarrelsome chef/detective in the television sitcom, Pie In The Sky. I loved that show and the depth he brought to it.
Griffiths died yesterday at the University Hospital of Coventry and Warwickshire. Sir Nicholas Hytner, director of the National Theatre, said that, “Griffiths's unexpected death would devastate his "army of friends". Mr Hytner, also said, “Richard Griffiths wasn’t only one of the most loved and recognisable British actors – he was also one of the very greatest and his performance in Alan Bennett's, The History Boys, as Hector, the charismatic teacher, was quite overwhelming: a masterpiece of wit, delicacy, mischief and desolation, often simultaneously.”
Daniel Radcliffe, today led tributes to the actor whose "encouragement, tutelage and humour" made work "a joy". Radcliffe, who also performed with Griffiths ( RG as Martin Dysart) in the stage play Equus, said: "Richard was by my side during two of the most important moments of my career.”
He continues, "In August 2000, as I nervously started on my first Harry Potter film he made me feel at ease and seven years later, we embarked on Peter Schaffer's play, Equus, together. It was my first time doing a play but, terrified as I was, his encouragement, tutelage and humour 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." (Source: internet tributes)
Aside from the Harry Potter films, Richard Griffiths was most famous for his role as the gloriously camp Uncle Monty in the cult film favourite, Withnail And I. He had a busy and varied career in the theatrical arts and fairly recently played the charming Monsieur Frick in the popular film, Hugo.
Well, “ Dear boy, dear boy” I will miss you being here on earth to entertain us on our screens and stages with your avuncular charm, wit and impish mischief. My condolences to your family. We never met but you touched my heart and made me laugh. Thank you.