Richard Harris (1930 - 2002)
Born in 1930 in Limerick, Ireland, Richard Harris enjoyed a long career on stage and screen. Renowned as a firebrand and hell-raiser, he was a commanding presence and possessed a voice both assertively gravelly and reassuringly soft.
He won an Oscar® nomination for his first major role, as a miner turned rugby player in Lindsay Anderson's This Sporting Life (1963), and went on to play many other memorable parts. He starred as King Arthur (a precursor, perhaps, of Professor Dumbledore) in Camelot (1967), a musical in which he later toured on stage. He played an English aristocrat in the western, A Man Called Horse (1970) and the role of 'English Bob' in Clint Eastwood's hard-edged classic, Unforgiven (1992).
Harris averaged about a film a year throughout his career, including the title role in Cromwell (1970), Golden Rendezvous (1977) opposite his wife, Ann Turkel, The Wild Geese (1978) alongside Richard Burton and Roger Moore, and The Field (1990), for which he was again Oscar®-nominated.
On the day Harris died in hospital - 25 October 2002 - having suffered from Hodgkin's disease for some months, a press conference was held in London to launch the second Harry Potter film, The Chamber of Secrets, in which he reprised his role as Dumbledore, majestic headmaster of Hogwarts.