Richard Griffiths, who played Uncle Vernon Dursley in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" and its sequels, died at the age of 65 on Thursday, March 28. According to his agent, Simon Beresford, Griffiths died of complications following heart surgery at the University Hospital of Coventry and Warwickshire.
"Richard brightened my days and enriched the life of anyone he came into contact with," said Beresford. "On stage he allowed us to share in our own humanity and constantly question our differences. Richard gave acting a good name. He was a remarkable man and one of our greatest and best-loved actors. He will be greatly missed."
Funny and clever are two words that describe the prodigiously talented Griffiths. "Richard was by my side during two of the most important moments of my career," Daniel Radcliffe, who worked with the actor in "Harry Potter" and stage play "Equus", said in a statement. "I am proud to say I knew him."
"In August 2000, before official production had even begun on Potter, we filmed a shot outside the Dursleys' [home], which was my first ever shot as Harry. I was nervous and he made me feel at ease," Radcliffe continued. "Seven years later, we embarked on 'Equus' together. It was my first time doing a play but, terrified as I was, his encouragement, tutelage and humor made it a joy. In fact, any room he walked into was made twice as funny and twice as clever just by his presence."
Griffiths was born to parents who were deaf and mute in 1947. "The first language he learned was sign. And therefore his ability to listen to people with his eyes as well as his ears is incredible," said the director of "Equus", Thea Sharrock, in a 2008 interview.
When Griffiths was 15, he left school and later returned to education to study drama. In 1980, he married Heather Gibson, whom he first met in 1973 during a production of "Lady Windermere's Fan".