Veteran actor Michael Gough famed for his portrayal of Bruce Wayne’s butler in the Batman movies, has died at the age of 94 on 17th March 2011.
Best remembered as the quaint quintessential British supporting actor; Gough’s career spanned an astonishing 62 years and over 150 roles for film, stage and television.
Born in Kuala Lumpur in 1916, Gough dropped out of agricultural college to pursue a career in acting at the Old Vic. The resumption of his career in the post war years saw him develop his trade in the West End with a notable role in Frederick Lonsdale’s But for the grace of God.
His film debut came in 1948 with a role in Blanche Fury and major supporting roles followed including classic Ealing productions (The Man in the White Suit 1951), vintage horror for Hammer (Dracula 1958 and The Phantom of the Opera 1962), Shakespeare (Richard III 1955 and Julius Caesar 1969) and stylish period dramas (The Go-Between 1970).
During this period he continued to work on the stage (including Hamlet 1951) and remained constant in both mediums during the sixties, seventies and eighties.
Television offered another outlet for Gough’s qualities with notable roles in Dr Who (1965) where his Celestial Toymaker was pitted against William Hartnell’s original incarnation of the time lord and as Prime Minister Anthony Eden in Suez (1979).
Tim Burton’s comic book adaptation of Batman (1989) brought Gough to a new generation. His mild mannered but stern characteristics provided a perfect support to Michael Keaton’s darkly brooding crime fighter. Gough would continue in the role for three more movies before the franchises’ original demise in the mid nineties.
He would work with Burton again in the underrated and beautifully stylish horror flick Sleepy Hollow (1999) and then provide voice over duties to the animation feature The Corpse Bride (2005).
Michael Gough would grace the screen one last time to add his voicing skills to Burton’s semi animated film adaptation of Alice in Wonderland (2010).
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