Fans of Sir Michael Gambon have been sharing their favourite memories of the legendary actor following his death this week.
From his expletive-ridden acceptance speech at an awards bash to pranking his Harry Potter co-stars with a fart machine and almost crashing on Top Gear, vintage videos of the 82-year-old have been making the rounds on social media.
Sir Michael died peacefully in hospital following a bout of pneumonia, with JK Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe yesterday leading tributes to titan of British cinema and theatre, hailing him as a ‘wonderful man’ and an ‘outstanding actor’.
Among the videos resurfacing included Sir Michael’s hilarious 1995 appearance at the Evening Standard Award, in which he won the Best Actor gong for his titular role in comedy Volpon from that year.
He politely greets his future Harry Potter co-star, Dame Maggie Smith, with a kiss on the cheek, before amusing the audience with a simple and honest ‘F*** me’ as he collected his award – leading to roars of laughter.
Sir Michael died peacefully in hospital following a bout of pneumonia, with JK Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe yesterday leading tributes to titan of British cinema
Sir Michael’s hilarious 1995 appearance at the Evening Standard Award saw him say ‘F*** me’ when he collected his Best Actor gong short after kissing Dame Maggie Smith on the cheek (pictured)
Fans have since been sharing their favourite moments of the legendary actor, including a clip of his appearance on Top Gear in 2002 when he almost crashed (pictured)
While Sir Michael’s Harry Potter co-star Warwick Davis today shared this candid image of his children playing with the 82-year-old
Other videos of the beloved actor making the rounds include his legendary stint on Top Gear, hosted by Jeremy Clarkson.
Sir Michael appeared on the show in 2002, where he took to the test track in a Suzuki Liana for the ‘Star in a Reasonably Priced Car’ segment – and nearly crashed.
Gambon raced around the course with such ferocity that on the final corner of his last lap, the car lifted up on to two wheels, having narrowly avoided slamming into a series of tyres moments earlier and clipping a sign.
‘Was that a bit frightening,’ host Clarkson asked Sir Michael as he chuckled, adding: ‘That was fully in the air.’
While playing footage of the driving, Clarkson called Sir Michael’s control of the car ‘spectacular’, and revealed he had completed the course in one minute and 55 seconds.
The actor later admitted, with a wry smile, that his risky driver had resulted him in knocking one of the car’s wing mirrors off.
To mark the Sir Michael’s impressive achievement, the final corner of the Top Gear test track was then dubbed ‘Gambon Corner’, or simply ‘Gambon’.
Former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson said the actor was such a ‘tremendous guest’ when he appeared on the BBC show that he had a corner named after him on the racetrack
Michael Gambon and his partner Philippa Hart, with whom he had two young sons
The star with Philippa Hart and their eldest son Tom at playwright Tom Stoppard’s 80th birthday party six years ago
As well as his passion for speed, mischievous Sir Michael was also renowned for his love of making people laugh and pulling pranks while filming.
One particular gag saw him and Alan Rickman pranking Daniel Radcliffe with a fart machine on the set of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
During a scene in which Hogwarts students are sleeping in the Great Hall, Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape – portrayed by Sir Michael and Rickman – quietly stroll through discussing ‘dreams’.
As one of the takes was being recorded, Sir Michael started by pressing a button to set off a fart machine placed in Radcliffe’s sleeping bag.
Hilarious behind-the-scenes footage from the 2004 film shows the hall erupting with laughter as the prank unfolds, while Sir Michael delivered his lines with a straight face.
Recalling the joke, Radcliffe said he didn’t suspect Gambon or Rickman could have been responsible for the prank at first.
Speaking to GQ last year, he added: ‘I immediately thought: “this is one of the other kids f***ing around, and we were going to get in trouble”.
‘But as it turns out, it was one of the members of Britain’s acting royalty. I think I laughed a lot, was probably a bit embarrassed, but it was really really funny.’
Star: Sir Michael’s family confirmed on Thursday that the legendary actor had died peacefully in hospital following a bout of pneumonia (pictured as Dumbledore in Harry Potter)
Daniel Radcliffe has recalled how Sir Michael Gambon pranked him on the set of Harry Potter following the actor’s death aged 82
Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter); Gary Oldman (Sirius Black); Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) ; Michael Gambon (Dumbledore) and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), pose at a photocall in 2004
Harry Potter stars Robbie Coltrane and Michael Gambon in New York in 2011
The 34-year-old actor added that Gambon had a reputation for cracking gags and trying to make his younger co-stars crack up while on set.
‘Michael could do that (mess with him) to a frustrating degree. He learned that he could, when I was a teenager, he could make me laugh very, very easily,’ Radcliffe added.
‘Making me laugh right up until the word “action”, at which point I was pretty much unable to recover and he could just snap into a performance with inherent gravitas and charm. Yeah. He’s awesome.’
Also paying tribute today was Harry Potter co-star Warwick Davis, who shared a candid photo of his children playing with Sir Michael.
‘Myself and my family had the pleasure of knowing and working with Michael Gambon. As well as being a mesmerising storyteller, he was an actor with gravitas and good humour in equal measure,’ Davis wrote in a heartfelt tweet.
Sir Michael was never formally trained as an actor and had dismissed acting lessons as ‘a load of b***ocks.’
He started out in the theatre as a volunteer set builder and then landed tiny roles in small productions for a working-class audience in Camden.
The actor played the Prime Minister of the UK in 2002 comedy film Ali G Indahouse
Sir Michael as Winston Churchill in Churchill’s Secret, a 2016 drama about the war hero’s stroke and its aftermath
The star then bluffed his way into his first paid acting role, at the Gate Theatre, Dublin.
He got the role – a small appearance in Othello – by claiming to have had the lead role in Shaw’s Candida in the West End.
Sir Michael went on to tell other light-hearted lies, including that he was a gifted ballet dancer but was forced to give it up after falling into a kettle-drum in the orchestra pit.
The Layer Cake star previously fibbed that he was gay after being asked whether he’d found it difficult portraying the gay Victorian poet Oscar Wilde.
Opening up about that particular lie during his 2006 appearance on Top Gear, Sir Michael told host Jeremy Clarkson: ‘[The interviewer] said, “What about the homosexuality?” That annoyed me – and I said, “Well I found that very easy, because I used to be a homosexual.”.’
His comment led to a wave of laughter from Clarkson and the studio audience, with Sir Michael continuing: ‘He was so thick. I said, “But I was forced to give it up… it made my eyes water”.’
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