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Actor Richard Griffiths dies aged 65 from complications after heart surgery

Won Olivier and Tony awards for role in The History Boys on stage Came to prominence in Gandhi and became cult hero in Withnail and I Known to new generation of fans as Vernon Dursley in Harry Potter Co-star Daniel Radcliffe pays tribute: 'I am proud to say I knew him' By HUGO GYE

PUBLISHED: 05:02 EST, 29 March 2013 | UPDATED: 07:12 EST, 29 March 2013

Richard Griffiths has died at the age of 65, it was announced today.

The famed theatrical, television and film actor died yesterday after suffering complications related to heart surgery at the University Hospital of Coventry and Warwickshire.

He starred in Alan Bennett's play The History Boys and appeared in cult classic Withnail and I as the comic Uncle Monty, after getting his start with a small role in Richard Attenborough's Gandhi - but he found a new audience of fans as Vernon Dursley in the Harry Potter films.

Daniel Radcliffe, who played the title role in Harry Potter and also performed with Griffiths in the play Equus, led tributes to the actor.

by RIP, great actorreply 4204/01/2013

That's fucking sad. He was one of the greatest. Still can't believe he wasn't gay, though.

by RIP, great actorreply 103/29/2013

Talented man. His Uncle Monty was a tragi-comic masterpiece of characterisation.

Did he ever play The Dane?

by RIP, great actorreply 203/29/2013

Oh, noes. Very sad to hear this. He will be genuinely missed.

by RIP, great actorreply 303/29/2013

Any statement from Petunia and Dudley?

by RIP, great actorreply 403/29/2013

Yes, wonderful actor. But he was a heart attack waiting to happen. I'm not one of those gays who think your bones have to be sticking out or you're fat, but I wonder why such an obviously intelligent empathetic man couldn't get his act together to lose a bit of weight for the sake of his health.

by RIP, great actorreply 503/29/2013

[R2] Mary! Theater Queen in her pretentious glory.

"Did he ever play The Dane?"

No, but I believe he did The Scottish play across the pond. So nuanced with many layers. It was a masterclass in acting.

In Equus he was so overweight it was visually distracting.

Very talented and a nice man.

by RIP, great actorreply 603/29/2013

65?

by RIP, great actorreply 703/29/2013

He wasn't gay, R1. You're thinking of Richard Wilson.

by RIP, great actorreply 803/29/2013

He WASN'T GAY?

My head is spinning--a glass of water, please--

by RIP, great actorreply 903/29/2013

Obesity kills.

by RIP, great actorreply 1003/29/2013

I can't believe he was only 65. My PBS station reruns that crappy Pie in the Sky 1990s series and he looked 65 years old in that.

by RIP, great actorreply 1103/29/2013

For the uninitiated (like R6) the reference to "the Dane" is a quotation from Withnail and I.

by RIP, great actorreply 1203/29/2013

He looks gay.

by RIP, great actorreply 1303/29/2013

He was obese. Fat kills.

by RIP, great actorreply 1403/29/2013

Unfortunately, R6 is right. I also saw Equus and his gargantuanly obese body was the only thing I saw on that stage. I didn't even notice that Harry Potter was naked. Grffiths was also wheezing through his lines so much, audience members were afraid he would drop dead during Act II. It was the most uncomfortable theatre experience I've ever had, next to watching Chita Rivera slog through the abominable Bring Back Birdie.

by RIP, great actorreply 1503/29/2013

R.I.P., Monty old boy.

by RIP, great actorreply 1603/29/2013

His weight was due to radiation therapy he had as a child to correct his short stature. It was not due to overeating.

by RIP, great actorreply 1703/29/2013

Yes, and my weight problem is 100% caused by_________.

by RIP, great actorreply 1803/29/2013

I'm surprised he lasted THAT long.

by RIP, great actorreply 1903/29/2013

Verbatim what R19 said.

by RIP, great actorreply 2003/29/2013

He needed a cane to walk

by RIP, great actorreply 2103/29/2013

Oh no, Uncle Monty!

by RIP, great actorreply 2203/29/2013

His character in "The History Boys" would give one of this students a ride home on the back of his motorcycle after class. The boys took turns riding with him. At a red light, he would casually reach behind and fondle the student's crotchal area. The boys were ok with it because that is as far as it went. He just liked to cup their packages.

It is a great little movie. The whole cast shines in it. My personal favorite performance is given by Frances de la Tour.

by RIP, great actorreply 2303/29/2013

QHt r19 said and I CAN'T believe he was remotely interested in women.

by RIP, great actorreply 2403/29/2013

[quote]His weight was due to radiation therapy he had as a child to correct his short stature. It was not due to overeating.

Rrrrrright.

Can someone verify this with an actual medical fact please?

by RIP, great actorreply 2503/29/2013

[quote]In Equus he was so overweight it was visually distracting.

And doesn't this speak to the sexist double standard in all the world? No way would a woman that size be allowed in a co-starring role like that. Can you even imagine?

by RIP, great actorreply 2603/29/2013

r26: Even more distracting was in THE HISTORY BOYS where it is heard that his character took his students riding on his motorbike while reaching behind to fondle them.

Looking at Griffiths it was clear that he was so large it would be physically impossible for him to do so.

He was wheezing and red-faced in that play as well, I also wondered if he would have an onstage coronary.

by RIP, great actorreply 2703/30/2013

Ha! I didn't see your post there, r23!

by RIP, great actorreply 2803/30/2013

It seems Bruce Robinson who wrote and directed WITHNAIL & I based uncle Monty on Franco Zeffirelli who kept pestering Bruce, who was pretty when he was young, when he was cast as Benvolio in the '68 ROMEO & JULIET. Franco liked them young and pretty - Bruce's looks didn't last long though.

by RIP, great actorreply 2903/30/2013

Griffith is fantastic in Withnail & I. I saw him both at the National Theatre and on Broadway in The History Boys and he was absolutely wonderful. The film of it didn't work at all, however.

by RIP, great actorreply 3003/30/2013

"I mean to HAVE you, boy, even if it must be by burglary!"

Seriously, how many of you have always wanted to use that line in real life?

by RIP, great actorreply 3103/30/2013

Was he having heart surgery because of the strain on his heart from his obesity?

by RIP, great actorreply 3203/30/2013

He was having breast reduction surgery.

by RIP, great actorreply 3303/30/2013

I always prayed he'd live long enough to appear in the stage version of Star Wars as Jabba the Hutt. A part he was born to play.

His hideously disgusting obesity always left me feeling like I needed wash my hands and face when I saw him. There was just something dirty about him, as there is with all grotesquely fat people. So miserable and such liars about it.

by RIP, great actorreply 3403/31/2013

He was huge....saw him in Equus...they changed the staging and had him just sit there most of the entire time....his getting up would have taken major effort.

by RIP, great actorreply 3503/31/2013

I'm sure he was sitting because it was difficult and painful to remain standing on his feet.

Standing for more than a minute is difficult and painful for many people with arthritis and other maladies.

His getting up would perhaps have taken major effort - but standing on his feet for more than a minute would have probably been very problematic.

by RIP, great actorreply 3603/31/2013

He was fine actor. It's a shame that American audience only knew him from his appearances in the Harry Potter series. He was an actor who took bit parts and turned it into a memorable role.

by RIP, great actorreply 3703/31/2013

R34, you are too precious for this world. You have such delicate sensibilities. I bet your vomit smells likes daisies!

by RIP, great actorreply 3803/31/2013

I wonder if The History Boys will gather for his memorial service at which 'Bye Bye Blackbird' is played. I hope so.

by RIP, great actorreply 3903/31/2013

He had appearances in "Gormenghast" and "Inspector Morse" as well as the movies "King Ralph" and "Venus" opposite Peter O'Toole.

by RIP, great actorreply 4004/01/2013

Don't forget he was supposed to star in the show within the show in Episodes...

He seemed to be a good man.

by RIP, great actorreply 4104/01/2013

He was brilliant as Uncle Monty, simultaneously hilarious and a tiny bit scary.

by RIP, great actorreply 4204/01/2013
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