Michael Gough

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For other people named Michael Gough, see Michael Gough (disambiguation).
Michael Gough
Gough as Alfred.jpg
Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth in
Batman Returns (1992)
Born (1916-11-23)23 November 1916
Kuala Lumpur, British Malaya
Died 17 March 2011(2011-03-17) (aged 94)
London, England, UK
Residence London, England
Nationality British
Education Durham School
Alma mater Old Vic
Occupation Actor
Years active 1946 – 2010
Home town London, England
Spouse(s) Diana Graves (divorced)
Anne Leon (1950–1964) (divorced)
Anneke Wills (1962–1979) (divorced)
Henrietta Lawrence
(1980–2011, his death)
Children 3
Relatives Rachel Gurney (In-law)

Francis Michael Gough (/ˈɡɒf/ GOF; 23 November 1916 – 17 March 2011)[1][2] was an English character actor who made over 150 film and television appearances. He is known for his roles in the Hammer Horror Films from 1958, and for his recurring role as Alfred Pennyworth in all four films of the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher Batman series.

Early life and career[edit]

Francis Michael Gough was born in Kuala Lumpur, Federated Malay States (now Malaysia), the son of British parents Frances Atkins (née Bailie) and Francis Berkeley Gough.[3][4][5] Gough was educated at Rose Hill School, Tunbridge Wells, and at Durham School, he moved onto Wye Agricultural College which he left to go to the Old Vic.[6][7] During World War II Gough was a conscientious objector, like his friend Frith Banbury, although he was obliged to serve in the Non-Combatant Corps[8] and was a member of No. 6 Company, NCC, in Liverpool.[9] Gough made his film debut in 1948 in Blanche Fury, and thereafter appeared extensively on British television. In 1955, he portrayed one of the two murderers who kill the Duke of Clarence (John Gielgud) as well as the Princes in the Tower in Laurence Olivier's Richard III.

Gough became known for appearances in horror films including Dracula (1958), Horrors of the Black Museum (1959), The Phantom of the Opera (1962), The Corpse (Velvet House, 1970) and Norman J. Warren's stockbroker-Satanism debut Satan's Slave (1976). He also appeared in the comedy film Top Secret! (1984), alongside with Val Kilmer (the latter's first feature film), with whom he would also work later in the Batman franchise.

Gough guest-starred on the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who, as the villain in the serial The Celestial Toymaker (1966) and also as Councillor Hedin in Arc of Infinity (1983). He also played the automation-obsessed, wheelchair-bound Dr. Armstrong in "The Cybernauts", one of the best remembered episodes of The Avengers (1965), returning the following season as the Russian spymaster Nutski in "The Correct Way to Kill". He was introduced in the first season episode "Maximum Security" of Colditz as Major "Willi" Schaeffer, the alcoholic second-in-command of the Kommandant (Bernard Hepton). In the Ian Curteis television play Suez 1956 (1979) he played Prime Minister Anthony Eden. He also appeared in The Citadel (1983) as Sir Jenner Halliday, in 1985's Out of Africa as Lord Delamere and as the fictional deposed KGB spymaster, Andrei Zorin, in the 1991 BBC three part series, Sleepers.

Later roles[edit]

His later roles included Alfred Pennyworth for director Tim Burton, including Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992). He also reprised his role as Alfred in the 1994 BBC radio adaptation of Batman: Knightfall and in Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997) for director Joel Schumacher. Gough was one of two actors to have appeared in the four Batman films in the Burton/Schumacher series; the other actor was Pat Hingle (as Commissioner Gordon). Gough worked for Burton again in 1999's Sleepy Hollow and 2005's Corpse Bride. He also briefly reprised his Alfred role in six 2001 television commercials for the OnStar automobile tracking system, informing Batman of the system's installation in the Batmobile. Other commercial appearances famously included Gough as Alfred in a 1989 advertisement for Diet Coke. As a favour to Burton, Gough came out of retirement once more to appear in Burton's Alice in Wonderland.[10]

Awards and nominations[edit]

He won Broadway's 1979 Tony Award as Best Actor (Featured Role – Play) for Bedroom Farce. He was also nominated in the same category in 1988 for Breaking the Code.

He won a BAFTA TV Award in 1957 and was nominated for a BAFTA Film Award in 1972 for his work in The Go-Between.

He was nominated for a Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play in 1979 for Bedroom Farce and again in 1988 for Breaking the Code.

Personal life[edit]

Gough was married four times—one of his ex-wives is Anne Elizabeth Leon (born 1925). They married in 1950, their daughter Emma Frances was born in 1953 and they divorced in 1964.[5] Another ex-wife is Doctor Who actress Anneke Wills, who played the Doctor's companion Polly. Wills had encountered him at various times during her life—firstly during a theatre trip with her mother in 1952—but they first met formally, on the set of Candidate for Murder and the attraction was instant. Gough adopted Wills's daughter Polly, and in 1965 their son Jasper was born. Gough was close friends with actor Alan Napier, who played Alfred Pennyworth in the Batman (TV series). Actress Rachel Gurney was the mother of Gough's daughter-in-law, Sharon Gurney.

Death[edit]

Michael Gough died on 17 March 2011, in London, after a short illness. He was cremated, a memorial service was held and his ashes were scattered at sea. He was survived by his fourth wife, Henrietta, daughter Emma and sons Simon (who is married to actress Sharon Gurney, the daughter of the Upstairs, Downstairs actress Rachel Gurney) and Jasper.[11] Michael Keaton, his co-star in the first two theatrical Batman films, said that Gough was sweet and charming, and wrote, "To Mick – my butler, my confidant, my friend, my Alfred. I love you. God bless. Michael (Mr Wayne) Keaton."[12] Gough was added in In Memoriam at the 18th Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1948 Anna Karenina Nicholai
1948 Blanche Fury Laurence Fury
1948 Saraband for Dead Lovers Prince Charles
1949 Small Back Room, TheThe Small Back Room Capt. Dick Stuart
1951 Blackmailed Maurice Edwards
1951 Man in the White Suit, TheThe Man in the White Suit Michael Corland
1953 Twice Upon a Time Mr. Lloyd
1953 Sword and the Rose, TheThe Sword and the Rose Duke of Buckingham
1953 Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue Duke of Montrose
1955 Richard III Dighton, the first murderer
1956 Reach for the Sky Flying Instructor Pearson
1957 Ill Met by Moonlight Andoni Zoidakis
1958 Dracula Arthur Holmwood
1958 Horse's Mouth, TheThe Horse's Mouth Abel
1959 Model for Murder Kingsley Beauchamp
1959 Horrors of the Black Museum Edmond Bancroft
1961 What a Carve Up! Fisk, the butler
1961 Konga Dr. Charles Decker
1962 Phantom of the Opera, TheThe Phantom of the Opera Ambrose D'Arcy
1963 Black Zoo Michael Conrad
1963 Tamahine Cartwright
1965 Dr. Terror's House of Horrors Eric Landor Segment four: "Disembodied Hand"
1965 Skull, TheThe Skull Auctioneer
1966 Alice in Wonderland March Hare
1966 Doctor Who: The Celestial Toymaker Celestial Toymaker
1967 Berserk! Albert Dorando
1968 Curse of the Crimson Altar Elder
1969 Women in Love Tom Brangwen
1969 Walk with Love and Death, AA Walk with Love and Death Mad Monk
1970 Julius Caesar Metellus Cimber
1970 Trog Sam Murdock
1970 Go-Between, TheThe Go-Between Mr. Maudsley
1970 The Corpse Walter Eastwood Also known as Velvet House and Crucible of Horror
1972 Henry VIII and His Six Wives Norfolk
1972 Savage Messiah M. Gaudier
1973 Horror Hospital Dr. Christian Storm
1973 Legend of Hell House, TheThe Legend of Hell House Emeric Belasco Uncredited
1976 Satan's Slave Uncle Alexander Yorke
1978 Boys from Brazil, TheThe Boys from Brazil Mr. Harrington
1981 Venom David Ball
1982 Smiley's People Mikhel
1983 Doctor Who: Arc of Infinity Councillor Hedin
1983 Dresser, TheThe Dresser Frank Carrington
1984 Oxford Blues Doctor Ambrose
1984 Top Secret! Dr. Paul Flammond
1984 Christmas Carol, AA Christmas Carol Mr. Poole
1985 Out of Africa Baron Delamere
1986 Caravaggio Cardinal Del Monte
1986 Little Vampire, TheThe Little Vampire Uncle Ludwig
1987 Maschenka Father
1987 Inspector Morse: The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn Philip Ogleby
1987 Fourth Protocol, TheThe Fourth Protocol Sir Bernard Hemmings
1988 Serpent and the Rainbow, TheThe Serpent and the Rainbow Schoonbacher
1989 Strapless Douglas Brodie
1989 Batman Alfred Pennyworth
1989 Batman: The Lazarus Syndrome Voice
1991 Let Him Have It Lord Goddard
1992 Young Indiana Jones Chronicles: Russia 1910, TheThe Young Indiana Jones Chronicles: Russia 1910 Leo Tolstoy
1992 Batman Returns Alfred Pennyworth
1993 Age of Innocence, TheThe Age of Innocence Henry van der Luyden
1993 Hour of the Pig, TheThe Hour of the Pig Magistrate Boniface
1993 Wittgenstein Bertrand Russell
1995 Batman Forever Alfred Pennyworth
1997 Batman & Robin
1998 St. Ives Comte de Saint-Yves
1999 Cherry Orchard, TheThe Cherry Orchard Feers
1999 Sleepy Hollow Notary Hardenbrook
2005 Corpse Bride Elder Gutknecht Voice
2010 Alice in Wonderland Uilleam Voice; Final role

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gough in the London Times, 23 June 1997: "There was some indecision as to when I was born. My sister said it was 1916. I'd lost my birth certificate." Gough's wife Henrietta confirmed 1916 (and not 1915) as her husband's birth year in 2010 (see Christian Heger: Mondbeglänzte Zaubernächte. Das Kino von Tim Burton. Marburg 2010).
  2. ^ Eric Shorter Obituary: Michael Gough, The Guardian, 17 March 2011
  3. ^ Michael Gough Biography
  4. ^ Michael Gough Biography – Yahoo! Movies
  5. ^ a b thePeerage.com – Person Page 18350
  6. ^ "Michael Gough". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 November 2009. "Education: Wye Agricultural College, England; Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, England, Major – drama; Durham School, England; Rose Hill School, Kent, England" 
  7. ^ Eric Shorter (17 March 2011). "Michael Gough obituary". London: guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 21 April 2011. "Michael Gough, actor, born 23 November 1916; died 17 March 2011 ... He was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaya, where his father was a rubber planter. After attending Rose Hill School, Tunbridge Wells, and Durham School, he dropped out of Wye Agricultural College in Kent in order to study acting at the Old Vic." 
  8. ^ Read, Piers Paul (2005). Alec Guinness: the authorized biography. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-4498-2. 
  9. ^ Starkey, Pat (1992). I will not fight: conscientious objectors and pacifists in the North West during the Second World War. Liverpool Historical Studies. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. ISBN 0-85323-467-1. 
  10. ^ "Michael Gough, 94, was butler Alfred in “Batman”". bcdb.com, March 17, 2011
  11. ^ "Michael Gough, Batman's Alfred, dies aged 94". BBC News. 17 March 2011. 
  12. ^ Mike Moody. "Michael Keaton praises Michael Gough". Digital Spy. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Alan Napier
Alfred Pennyworth Actor
1989 - 1997
Succeeded by
Michael Caine