Richard Griffiths was one of the great British stage actors of his generation, a heavy man with a light touch, whether in Shakespeare or Neil Simon. But for millions of movie fans, he will always be grumpy Uncle Vernon, the least magical of characters in the fantastical “Harry Potter” movies.
Griffiths died Thursday at University Hospital in Coventry, central England, from complications following heart surgery, his agent, Simon Beresford, said. He was 65.
“Harry Potter” star Daniel Radcliffe paid tribute to the actor Friday, saying that “any room he walked into was made twice as funny and twice as clever just by his presence.”
“I am proud to say I knew him,” Radcliffe said.
Griffiths won a Tony Award for “The History Boys” and appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows. But he will be most widely remembered as a pair of contrasting uncles — Harry Potter’s Uncle Vernon Dursley and Uncle Monty in the cult film “Withnail and I.”
Griffiths’ last major stage role was in a West End production of Neil Simon’s comedy “The Sunshine Boys” last year opposite Danny DeVito. The pair had been due to reprise their roles in Los Angeles later this year.
Tom Boerwinkle, the former Chicago Bulls center who had a franchise-record 37 rebounds in a 1970 game against the Phoenix Suns, has died. He was 67.
The 7-foot Boerwinkle, drafted fourth overall in 1968, averaged 7.2 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 10 seasons with the Bulls from 1968-69 to 1977-78. He also worked as an analyst on the team’s radio broadcasts from 1991-94.
“We were all heartbroken this morning to learn of the passing of Tom Boerwinkle,” said Steve Schanwald, the Bulls’ executive vice president of business operations. “In addition to being one of the Bulls’ all-time great players, Tom was one of the kindest men you would ever want to meet with the gentlest of souls. A true gentle giant who made great contributions to the Chicago Bulls’ organization on and off the court.”
Soraya Jimenez, the weightlifter who won a gold medal in 2000 in Sydney to become Mexico’s first female Olympic champion, has died of a heart attack. She was 35.
Robert “RZ” Zildjian, founder of the Sabian Inc. musical cymbal manufacturing company, has died. He was 89.
Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Fay Kanin has died. She was 95.
Kanin was nominated for an Academy Award for 1958’s “Teacher’s Pet” alongside her husband and writing partner, Michael Kanin. The film starred Clark Gable and Doris Day.
Gordon Stoker, a member of The Jordanaires vocal group that backed Elvis Presley, has died at 88.
The Jordanaires originated in Missouri and came to Nashville, where they backed Red Foley on a segment of the Opry called the “Prince Albert Show,” according to John Rumble, senior historian at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Rumble said they drew on both black and white gospel music, as well as many of the hymns Stoker knew by heart from his childhood in rural West Tennessee.
Phil Ramone, the Grammy Award-winning engineer and producer whose platinum touch included recordings with Ray Charles, Billy Joel and Paul Simon, has died at 79.
Phil Ramone was among the most honored and successful music producers in history, winning 14 Grammys and working with many of the top artists of his era. He was also an innovator who helped the CD displace vinyl as the primary commercial format. His many soundtrack credits included “Flashdance,” “Ghostbusters” and “Midnight Cowboy.”
Former Alabama athletic director Mal Moore, who played and coached under Bear Bryant, hired Nick Saban and presided over a heyday in athletics at his alma mater, has passed away at 73.
Bob Teague, a former news anchor, reporter and producer and one of New York City’s first black television journalists, has died. He was 84.
Hjalmar Andersen, a Norwegian speedskater who won three gold medals at the 1952 Winter Olympics, has died. He was 90.
Virgil “Fire” Trucks, who threw two no-hitters for the Detroit Tigers in the 1952 Major League Baseball season, died at his home in Calera, Alabama. He was 95.
In August 1952, the right-hander joined Johnny Vander Meer and Allie Reynolds as the only pitchers at that time to have thrown two no-hitters in the same season. Trucks ended the season 5-19 while the Tigers went 50-104.
He ended his career after being acquired by the New York Yankees in 1958. During his major league career, interrupted by two years of military service, he won 177 games and lost 135, tallied 33 shutouts and compiled a 3.39 earned run average.
Longtime NHL assistant coach Wayne Fleming has died. He was 62.
Hockey Canada said Fleming died in Calgary, Alberta, after a battle with brain cancer.
Motown songwriter-producer Deke Richards has died at a hospice at age 68.
As leader of the Motown songwriting, arranging and producing team known as The Corporation, Richards was involved in writing and producing many Jackson 5 hits. Those songs included the Jackson 5’s first three No. 1 hits — “I Want You Back,” “ABC,” and “The Love You Save.”
Two-time Pulitzer winner Anthony Lewis, whose New York Times column championed liberal causes for three decades, has died at 85.
Boris Berezovsky, one of the earliest and best-known Russian oligarchs, who accumulated vast wealth and influence in post-communist Russia that he struggled in later years to retain, was found dead at his home in Surrey, England. He was 67.
Once a multibillionaire, Berezovsky was facing mounting debts and had been entwined in numerous high-profile U.K. court cases in the previous two years.
Joe Weider, a legendary figure in bodybuilding who helped popularize the sport worldwide and played a key role in introducing a charismatic young weightlifter named Arnold Schwarzenegger to the world, has died. He was 93.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.