Richard Griffiths’ Prolific Career

April 1, 2013

Richard Griffiths died at the age of 65.

Richard Griffiths, the beloved British star of stage and screen, died this week after complications following heart surgery. Griffiths may not be a household name, but he has a resume any actor would commit felonies to possess. He acted in dozens of plays and films including Bedtime Stories, Sleepy Hollow, Hugo, and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.  From the lustful Uncle Monty in Withnail and I to grumpy Uncle Vernon in the Harry Potter movies, Richard had a way of displaying great, often outrageous character with a quality of verisimilitude that could literally define the art of acting. Richard was known as an intelligent, poetic raconteur who would use Joycean language to empower his dynamic roles. But as light and elegant as his soul and talent were, his physical girth was such that he often needed a cane just to walk on stage or set. And here’s where we come to something wonderful about the entertainment business: Everyone is welcome! You don’t need to be good looking or athletic (in our youth-obsessed culture, I’m sure it doesn’t hurt) but it’s not necessary. You really don’t have to be the prom king or queen, but you do have to understand your talents, and tune into what makes you special. And you need to be as dedicated as a worker ant building an ant farm. This game requires determined focus on a daily basis. By all accounts, Richard Griffiths participated in some of the most brilliant films of all time by dedicating his life to the craft of acting–not by the prowess of his athletic physique or the chiseled line of his jaw.

Griffiths is well known for his role as Uncle Vernon in Harry Potter.

Daniel Radcliff, Harry Potter himself, paid tribute to his onscreen uncle saying, “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.” Isn’t it nice to see someone recognized for talent and hard work rather than for looks, clothes, or money as we often see in this day and age?

What are your recollections of Richard Griffiths? Any favorite roles?