6:49 am EDT, March 29, 2013

British actor Richard Griffiths dies at 65

Very sad news: today we learned that British actor Richard Griffiths, best known for his roles in Harry Potter and History Boys, has passed away.

The Independent and various other news outlets are reporting that Griffiths, 65, died yesterday of complications following heart surgery.

Richard Griffiths Dan Radcliffe EquusHarry Potter fans will probably remember this seasoned actor best as Uncle Vernon in the Harry Potter movies; Richard Griffiths was able to bring the nasty character to life in such a believable way that it was a shock to turn and watch him in The History Boys, where he played the flawed but beloved teacher Hector, or as the shambolic Uncle Monty in the critically acclaimed Withnail and I.

One of his most memorable and gripping performances, The History Boys won him a number of awards, including the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor and the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play.

In 2008, Griffiths was made an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) for his efforts on the British arts scene.

Griffiths also went on to work with several of the young Potter actors on their other projects. He appeared alongside Emma Watson in Ballet Shoes, and joined Daniel Radcliffe on stage in the powerful Equus (pictured).

After learning the news, Radcliffe has spoken out about Griffiths’ death, saying, “Richard was by my side during two of the most important moments of my career,” those being his first scene as Harry Potter and his first stage production.

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“Any room he walked into was made twice as funny and twice as clever just by his presence,” Radcliffe says. “I am proud to say I knew him.”

We are very sad to learn about this tragic loss to the acting community. We wish his family and friends the best in this difficult time.

Rest in peace, Richard Griffiths.

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