According to agent Simon Beresford, British actor Richard Griffiths died on Thursday, following complications from heart surgery at the University Hospital of Coventry and Warwickshire.
Griffiths played the role of Uncle Vernon Dursely who was the Muggle guardian to Harry Potter in the ‘Harry Potter’ movies. He was considered a versatile actor appearing in numerous movies and TV shows, including the movies ‘Chariots of Fire’ and ‘Naked Gun 2 1/2.’
A Tony winner, Griffiths was one of Britain’s leading theater actors. Winning the Tony for his role in the play “The History Boys,” he went on to play the role in the film adaptation.
One of his is more memorable roles was when he played Uncle Monty in ‘Withnail and I,’ which was considered a failure until it attracted a cult following.
Richard E. Grant who starred with Griffiths in ‘Withnail and I’ tweeted, “My beloved ‘Uncle Monty’ Richard Griffiths died last night. Chin-Chin my dear friend.” Sending out a tweet to Harry Potter hero Daniel Radcliffe, Grant tweets, “@DanieIRadcIiffe Am so so sad that we have both lost an ‘Uncle’ with the death of Richard Griffiths. He was my ‘Uncle Monty’ in my 1st film.”
Radcliffe said of Griffiths, “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.”
Griffiths was well known for his sense of humor and his passion for theater. He was renowned for stopping a play mid-performance whenever an audience member’s cell phone would go off, asking the offending party to leave.
Just last year Griffith’s played opposite Danny DeVito in Neil Simon’s comedy ‘The Sunshine Boys,’ they were scheduled to perform in Los Angeles later this year.
In a statement Radcliffe said, “Richard was by my side during two of the most important moments of my career,” continuing he wrote, “In August 2000, before official production had even begun on Potter, we filmed a shot outside the Dursleys’, which was my first ever shot as Harry. I was nervous and he made me feel at ease. Seven years later, we embarked on ‘Equus’ together. It was my first time doing a play but, terrified as I was, his encouragement, tutelage and humor made it a joy.”
Griffiths is survived by his wife, Heather Gibson.
Andy Williams died Tuesday after battling bladder cancer for the past year.
The 84 year old singer passed away at his home in Branson Missouri, which is also the location of his Moon River Theater. The theater is named for one of his most famous songs “Moon River.”
Born Howard Andrew Williams, he soon became known as Andy Williams as he rose to stardom in 1954 when he became a regular on the original Tonight Show starring Steve Allen.
Williams is known for hits including “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” “Can’t Get Used to Losing You,” “Where Do I Begin” and “Happy Heart.”
The Andy Williams show ran from 1962 to 1971, he also starred in movies such as “Kansas City Kitty” and “Ladies’ Man.”
The family asks that donations be sent to the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Group.
A Chinese invasion of sorts took place on Saturday in Lincoln, where Thunder Valley Casino hosted a Chinese concert series starring some of the biggest names in Chinese entertainment.
The stars of the show were Dragon Li, Michelle Kim and Niki Chow. All were well received by the mostly “” scratch that “” all Asian crowd. That was a good thing since the concert was mostly in Chinese, with only a couple of songs with English interspersed.
At one point I could swear they were talking about me. I usually only get paranoid after taking illicit drugs or riding in an elevator with people talking in a language I don’t understand. Oh well, next time I’ll have to bring a Chinese-to-English translator. Wait, isn’t there an app for that?
The audience loved the show, which was a combination of singing and chatting with the audience. Both Chow and Li started up conversations with audience members while keeping their fans laughing. Several fans ended up on stage dancing and singing. No translator required.
Although I don’t speak Chinese it was easy to follow what was happening both onstage and off. While the stars of the show were speaking in Chinese it was obvious to me when they were telling a joke versus telling a story, or setting up a song. Their body language spoke volumes and once a song began you couldn’t help but sit back and enjoy the music.
It was obvious from the start that Dragon Li was the seasoned veteran. He bantered back and forth with the audience in between songs and was quite comfortable onstage as were both Yim and Chow. He seemed to enjoy the audience participation more than his fellow artists.
Dragon Li performing at Thunder Valley Casino (Image by: Randy Miramontez) Li, an actor and singer, got his start in Hong Kong in the late 1980s when he entered a singing contest, Sing Bao Ji Yei. There he was discovered by a talent manager and later signed with EMI Records. He recorded a number of television and movie theme songs, including “Superstar (Gui Sing),” “Brave (Nan Ji Han)” and “Confused (Ching Mi).” Li also starred in the television series “Journey to the West (Si You Gei).”
Michelle Yim performing at Thunder Valley Casino (Image by: Randy Miramontez) Michelle Yim, also known by her Chinese stage name Mai Suet, is a Hong Kong actress. In 1975, Yim joined Commercial Television, and in 1976, Yim acted in “Legend of the Condor Heroes,” a Wuxia TV series adaptation of Louis Cha’s novel of the same title. In 1978, Yim started working with Television Broadcasts (TVB) and guest-starred in one of the period dramas, “The Twins,” which later became one of her best works. Her most recent work won her the award for best drama performance by an actress for her role in “Moonlight Resonance” at the Asian Television Awards.
Niki Chow performs at Thunder Valley Casino (Image by: Randy Miramontez) Niki Chow is a Hong Kong actress and Cantopop (Hong Kong popular music) singer. Until recently she was under contract with BMA Records, but she terminated the contract to pursue a new contract with TVB. She has appeared in several movies and television series, including “Hard Fate” and “The Gentle Crackdown.” She won the most improved actress award at the TVB Anniversary Awards in 2005 for her performance in “The Gentle Crackdown.” She has also authored several books and is scheduled to begin filming an “Ancient Series” for TVB beginning in July.
The summer concert series at Thunder Valley Casino has just started and tickets are selling fast. The complete entertainment schedule is available on their website.