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Richard Griffiths dead at 65

Beloved British actor Richard Griffiths has died at the age of 65.

Griffiths, who enjoyed a number of notable movie roles in his lengthy career, including the part of Vernon Dursley in the Harry Potter films, passed away on Friday (29Mar13) from complications following heart surgery.


Griffiths became interested in acting as a youth and he attended drama college after dropping out of school as a teenager before landing a radio job at the BBC while cutting his teeth with several theater roles in Shakespeare plays.


In 1975 he landed his first movie role in It Couldn't Happen to a Vet, and went on to star in cinema blockbusters including Gandhi, The French Lieutenant's Woman, Chariots of Fire, and The Naked Gun 2 1/2.


He took the role of Uncle Monty in cult British classic Withnail & I in 1987, but will perhaps be best known for his turns in the Harry Potter franchise, playing the boy wizard's merciless uncle in five of the eight hit films.


Griffiths continued to work in TV and theater throughout his career, and gained a reputation for refusing to tolerate rudeness from a live audience - during a performance of The History Boys, he famously ordered a man to leave the theater after his cell phone repeatedly rang, and he repeated the request to a female audience member during a later performance of Heroes.


The actor was awarded an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal by Queen Elizabeth II in 2008.