aside, 2000 brought TV success with Longitude, where he played John
Harrison, a carpenter in 1714 who invents a marine chronometer and struggles
for 40 years to have his idea accepted (his story being paralleled with
that of Jeremy Irons, playing a WW1 veteran who discovers Harrison's
original papers and tries to re-make his invention). This film is well
worth trying to find it you can.
was another big year. It began with Stephen Poliakoff's acclaimed series
Perfect Strangers, where a rich man, selling off some of the family's
estates and belongings, calls a reunion of the extended family to give
everyone a last chance to share memories and view old photos. Michael
would play the black sheep who severed ties years before and who would
discover in the old photos a truth he cannot balance with his own memories.
Many a secret and dark desire is unveiled as the past brings the present
to emotional turmoil. Gambon would win a BAFTA for his efforts, completing
a hat-trick after awards for Wives And Daughters and Longitude.
were high hopes that his next picture, Gillian Armstrong's adaptation
of Sebastian Faulks' hit novel Charlotte Gray, would be equally strong.
Here Cate Blanchett played a Scottish woman who joins a WW2 Special
Operations unit in order to find her RAF boyfriend, lost in France.
She's goes undercover as maid to Gambon's Levade, a man torn by his
hatred for both the Nazis and the communist beliefs of his son, Billy
Crudup, a resistance fighter. As ever, Gambon would steal his scenes
but could not save the movie from a weak and sometimes silly script
up was Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow, a high budget sci-fi flick
that saw the world's greatest scientists going missing and reporter
Gwyneth Paltrow joining forces with ace pilot Jude Law to save New York
from giant flying robots, Gambon playing Paltrow's editor. As a nice
aside also in the movie was Lord Olivier! Some scenes of the now departed
veteran actor were used and another man did the voice over. It must
have been strange for Michael being reuntied with his old mentor all
these years later…
2002, was named the successor to the late Richard Harris as Professor
Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series. His Potter debut will be in Harry
Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004).
also still likes to play. In 2003, BBC2's Top Gear show named a corner
of their test track after him when he took it on two wheels. He's also
a trained pilot, and a naughty one, too. When fellow actor Terence Rigby
admitted to a fear of flying Gambon took him up over Greenwich in a
two-seater and pretended to have a heart attack, drooling, lolling and
peeking at Rigby from the corner of his eye. Smoking a cigarette and
contemplating his fate, the man was cured! And of course there's still
the smoking and drinking, for which Gambon remains notorious. In 2004
he was still at it, telling tales of falling over drunk in Venice and
breaking two ribs.
been awarded a CBE in 1992, then knighted in 1998 (on the Angels In
America set he threatened violence against anyone who called him Sir).
He was described by the late Sir Ralph Richardson as being "The
Great Gambon". He has been nominated for the Laruence Olivier Theatre
award 6 times and won it twice.