Tea Time Tidbits
Actor Michael Gambon
Week of February 16, 2015


Michael Gambon
Michael Gambon. © Getty Images

I was saddened to hear that actor Sir Michael Gambon has announced he is retiring from theatre owing to memory problems. It seems that for the last few years, the Irish born actor has had a hard time learning lines. His memory became so bad that in 2009 he had to pull out of a production at the National Theatre because of an “overwhelming fear” that he’d forget his lines.

Initially, Gambon feared he had Alzheimers, but he was checked out by two physicians and both results came back negative. The problem has progressed, however, and after a recent audition for a new West End play, where someone stood in the wings feeding the actor his lines over an earpiece, Gambon realized he would no longer be able to work on stage again.

Michael Gambon
Gambon and Dame Judi Dench.

“You can't be in theatre, free on stage shouting and screaming and running around, with someone reading you your lines”, said Gambon, 'It's a horrible thing to admit but I can't do it. It breaks my heart”.

Theatre has been Gambon’s life for over five decades, but hopefully the 74 year old actor will continue to work in film and television. His is such a familiar face to PBS viewers, his presence would be greatly missed. Fans of Masterpiece will, of course, remember Gambon from The Singing Detective, Maigret, Jane Austin’s Emma, Cranford and most recently Worricker. The rest of the world knows Gambon as Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter film series. Gambon’s latest television work is the soon to be released BBC adaptation of JK Rowling's The Casual Vacancy. I really enjoyed the book, so am crossing fingers it will come to PBS.

Michael Gambon
As Albus Dumbledore. © Courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures

Did you know, by the way, that Gambon’s son Fergus is a regular on the U.K. edition of Antiques Roadshow? His expertise is ceramics, something he developed a love of as a child when he was taken into an antiques shop by his father. “I saw this beautiful coffee can and fell in love with it,” recalled Fergus. “My father refused to buy it so I went in to a sulk.” The youngster eventually did get the can and was told it was Worcester, but after doing his own research he discovered it was actually Spode. Thus began a passion for antiques. It was a passion that his parents did not approve of; insisting instead that he find himself a "proper job".

Michael Gambon
Fergus Gambon.

After training in and practicing law for a decade, he finally quit and in 1994 he joined an auctioneer company as a valuer and cataloguer and has since added toys and dolls to his list area of expertise.

Priceless Antiques Roadshow airs Monday, Tuesday and Friday nights on MPT.

If you’d like to know what one of our favorite actors is up to lately, drop me a line.

To contact Heather:
E-mail: heather@mpt.org
Address: Afternoon Tea
Maryland Public Television
11767 Owings Mills Blvd.
Owings Mills, MD 21117

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