I woke up to the news that veteran British actor Richard Griffiths died today from complications from heart surgery at age 65. Harry Potter fans will remember Griffiths as the actor who played Harry’s unsympathetic Uncle Vernon. He was also known for his roles as Douglas Hector in the play The History Boys, Uncle Monty in Withnail and I, Henry Crabbe in Pie in the Sky, and King George II in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter in all eight Potter films, said that Griffiths was an important influence in his acting career. He said in a statement: ‘Richard was by my side during two of the most important moments of my career. In August 2000, before official production had even begun on Potter, we filmed a shot outside the Dursleys’, which was my first ever shot as Harry. I was nervous and he made me feel at ease. Seven years later, we embarked on 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.’
Appointed as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2008, Griffths is survived by his wife, Heather.
Condolences to the Griffiths family and to all who knew and loved him. What are your memories of this great actor?