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History Boys teacher is dead

Richard Griffiths, who played Vernon Dursley in the Harry Potter films and was one of the best-loved men among fellow-actors, has died aged 65 following heart surgery.

His defining role was Hector the teacher in Alan Bennett’s play (and film), The History Boys. Richard showed the world the inspiration a good teacher could instil, not necessarily by orthodox rules. For that great mercy, he will not be forgotten.

history_boys_richard_griffiths_1        Richard_Griffiths_(Vernon_Dursley)_CoS_screenshot

Here’s his Uncle Monty speech from Withnail and I:

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  1. Norman, given some of the topics we’ve been discussing here lately…have you actually SEEN The History Boys?
    Lovely actor, though – a great performance irrespective of the character he was playing. RIP – he’ll be missed.

  2. Tony Firshman says:

    He was born on 31 July 1947, so he was actually 65 (almost 66!), as his wiki correctly says. .

  3. Besides The History Boys, Griffiths shall also be remembered for his endearing performance in that cult movie
    Withnail and I.
    The soundtrack which underpins his key scene is a Schubert late piano sonata if i remember correctly.

    The original Timeout review was rather snooty but was revised for recent editions of Timeout Film Guide, in light of the great success post initial release.
    “…characters are oddball, degenerate even, but rounded – none more so than the elephantine figure of Griffiths as Withnail’s gay uncle Monty. Beautifully scripted, indecent, honest, and truthful, it’s a true original “

  4. Frances (Australia) says:

    I am so saddened to hear of Richard Griffiths passing. 65 is far too young to die. I loved him in his role as the Pie Maker in his TV series “Pie in the Sky”, as well as his role as Vernon Dursley in the “Harry Potter” movies.

  5. I never thought he was actually any good. Sorry

    • Alan Paterson says:

      So? Sorry he’s dead, sorry he’s still alive, sorry Norman carried the news? Why then bother to comment?

  6. Derek Castle says:

    I agree that in today’s heated atmosphere, particularly post-Savile, Hector’s ‘unconventional methods’ would not go down well – although being ‘fumbled’ on his motor-bike didn’t seem to bother the 6th Formers in the play. Richard will always be remembered by me for his stance in a performance in the West End (of ‘History Boys’?), when a person in the audience started taking calls on his/her mobile phone. He broke out of character and gave them a right telling-off. Recently I sat near a woman in Symphony Hall, B’ham, who fiddled with her mobile for the whole concert. Some people just can’t live without them.

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