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As a budding actor, Michael Gambon started in theater and honed his craft while working under esteemed actor and director Laurence Olivier at the National Theatre Company. “He was one of my ‘old boys’ at the National. I started him in almost walk-on parts. He’s a very important actor now,” Laurence recalled to the New York Times in 1987 about Gambon’s meteoric rise to fame.
During his lengthy career, Gambon snagged four British Academy Film Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and three Laurence Olivier Awards. Still, Gambon was adamant that it wasn’t until he took on the role of Professor Dumbledore in J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series that his notoriety became genuinely apparent. “It’s very odd,” Gambon confessed following the film’s premiere in 2009, according to Today. “I hadn’t realized before just how powerful these things are. I just do the job and go home and you forget it.”
In February 2022, Gambon announced his retirement, revealing to London’s The Sunday Times that his decision stemmed from some ongoing memory issues he was suffering from. “It’s a horrible thing to admit, but I can’t do it,” he divulged. “It breaks my heart. It’s when the script’s in front of me and it takes forever to learn. It’s frightening.”