Richard Griffiths, 'Harry Potter' Actor, Dead at 65

English actor played wizard's muggle uncle Vernon Dursley

Richard Griffiths
Ian Gavan/Getty Images
Richard Griffiths
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English actor Richard Griffiths, who played Vernon Dursley in the Harry Potter film series, died unexpectedly from complications following heart surgery, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 65.

Along with playing Potter's curmudgeonly muggle guardian, Griffiths became a cult favorite in the U.K. after portraying Uncle Monty in the 1987 comedy Withnail and I, directed by Bruce Robinson and produced by George Harrison.

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A student at the Royal shakespeare Company, Griffiths' career began with small roles on TV shows like Minder and The Sweeney, which led to turns in movies like Chariots of Fire, Gandhi and Superman II. In 2008 he received an honorary title in the U.K. of Order of the British Empire.

Griffiths was also a frequent presence on the stage, appearing as a charismatic teacher in The History Boys (a role he reprised for the 2006 movie), as re-teaming with Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe in Equus.

"Richard was by my side during two of the most important moments of my career," Radcliffe told the BBC. "I was proud to know him."

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