Beloved British actor Richard Griffiths has died at the age of 65, following complications after heart surgery.
Best known for his portrayal of Uncle Monty in Withnail & I he was also popular within a BBC comedy about a policeman turned pie chef in Pie In The Sky and Alan Bennett’s play The History Boys.
Or Griffiths may be well known to younger audiences for his role in the recent series of Harry Potter films; where he played Vernon Dursley, a rather strict and highly-strung uncle of Harry’s, of course played by Daniel Radcliffe.
Griffiths played alongside Radcliffe again in a stage revival of Peter Shaffer‘s Equus and more recently performed with Danny Devito in Neil Simon‘s play The Sunshine Boys at the Savoy Theatre, last April.
Radcliffe has been one of the first to pay tribute to the late actor and has said; “Richard was by my side during two of the most important moments of my career… 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.”
Director of the National Theatre, Sir Nicholas Hytner, has said the actors “army of friends” will be devasted by the unexpected death and paid his respects saying; “Richard Griffiths wasn’t only one of the most loved and recognisable British actors – he was also one of the greatest… His anecdotes were legendary. They were, literally, endless. They would go on for hours, apparently without destination, constantly side-splitting.”
In 2008 Griffiths was appointed OBE by the Queen for his services in Drama, he died yesterday at the University Hospital of Coventry and Warwickshire.