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richard griffiths

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Award-winning performer Richard Griffiths, who appeared as Uncle Vernon Dursley in Harry Potter films, was hailed as one of the greatest and most-loved British actors by a string of his co-stars and colleagues.

Richard Griffiths, who had struggled with declining health in recent years, is thought to have been admitted to hospital for a heart bypass.

A friend said: “He had the operation, came out of it and there were massive complications. His heart and body gave way. He had had myriad health problems over the last five years and in the last three to four months he was getting increasingly breathless.”

Richard Griffiths died on March 29 at the age of 65 from complications following heart surgery

Richard Griffiths died on March 29 at the age of 65 from complications following heart surgery

Richard Griffiths was also best known for his role as inspirational teacher Hector in Alan Bennett’s The History Boys – which earned him a Laurence Olivier award – and for playing Uncle Monty in cult film Withnail & I.

The actor was awarded an OBE for services to drama in 2008. Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, who also performed with Richard Griffiths in the stage play Equus at the age of 17, praised the actor’s “encouragement, tutelage and humor”.

Daniel Radcliff said: “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.”

Fellow Withnail & I star Richard E. Grant said: “Chin-Chin my dear friend. I feel too gutted to talk without falling apart. Suffice to say I feel I’ve lost my adored Uncle Monty.”

Richard Griffiths’ family last night refused to comment on whether the University Hospital of Coventry and Warwickshire, renowned for its treatment of heart problems, were at fault.

Richard Griffiths died on Thursday at the age of 65 from complications following heart surgery .

Long-term friend Jane Harrison, 70, said: “Richard was wonderful but he was showing his age towards the end. No one knew just how poorly he really was.”

A spokesman for Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital said: “We are aware of this situation and we have been in touch with our executive. We cannot give out any further information due to patient confidentiality.”

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Richard Griffiths, who starred in the Harry Potter films and Withnail and I, has died at the age of 65 after complications following heart surgery.

Richard Griffiths enjoyed a long career of success on film and on TV, but also on the stage where he was a Tony-winning character actor.

TV roles included a cookery-loving detective in Pie in the Sky.

Richard Griffiths, who starred in the Harry Potter films and Withnail and I, has died at the age of 65 after complications following heart surgery

Richard Griffiths, who starred in the Harry Potter films and Withnail and I, has died at the age of 65 after complications following heart surgery

Richard Griffiths was best known for playing Vernon Dursley in the Harry Potter films and Uncle Monty in Withnail and I.

On stage, Richard Griffiths’ most acclaimed performance was as the charismatic teacher Hector in Alan Bennett’s The History Boys.

After achieving a rare double of winning a Tony Award in New York and an Olivier Award in London, he recreated the role in a 2006 film version.

But it was his role as the predatory Uncle Monty in Withnail And I – which has become of one of the biggest cult classics in British cinema history – that made him a fan favorite.

Richard Griffiths was born in Thornaby-on-Tees, North Yorkshire, UK, and left school at 15 but later returned to education to study drama, before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The actor married Heather Gibson in 1980 after they met during a production of Lady Windermere’s Fan in 1973.

Richard Griffiths’ TV career saw him land bit parts in series such as Minder, The Sweeney and Bergerac, while he also played small parts in major movies such as Chariots of Fire, Superman II and Gandhi.

Well respected by his peers, Richard Griffiths was appointed an OBE in the 2008 New Year Honours for his services to drama.

In 2012 Richard Griffiths appeared alongside Danny Devito in Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys at London’s Savoy Theatre.

One of his most recent roles was in the drama Private Peaceful where he played The Colonel alongside Frances de la Tour and Maxine Peake.

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