A veteran of the stage and screen, British actor Richard Griffiths—best known to American audiences for portraying the cantankerous Uncle Vernon in the Harry Potter series—passed away today due to complications from heart surgery, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 65.
Besides his role in Harry Potter, Griffiths drew acclaim for playing Uncle Monty in the 1987 Bruce Robinson comedy Withnail and I, which was produced by former Beatles guitarist George Harrison. On stage, Griffiths originated the role of Hector, a charismatic English teacher in the award winning play The History Boys. Griffiths later reprised his role for the 2006 film version.
In 2008, Griffiths was given an honorary OBE (Order of the British Empire) for his contribution to drama.
Griffiths’ Harry Potter co-star Daniel Radcliffe, who also acted alongside the actor in the infamous 2007 revival of Equus, offered some words on Griffiths passing via the BBC website.
“Richard was by my side during two of the most important moments of my career. I was proud to know him,” he said.
National Theater director Nicholas Hytner further emphasized Griffiths’ stature among the British theater and film scene.
“Richard Griffiths wasn’t only one of the most loved and recognizable British actors — he was also one of the very greatest,” he said. “His performance in The History Boys was quite overwhelming: a masterpiece of wit, delicacy, mischief and desolation, often simultaneously.”