Veteran British character actor Michael Gough has passed away aged 94 after a lengthy battle with illness, having enjoyed a career spanning seven decades and over 150 roles. Born in Kuala Lumpur in 1916, Gough first appeared in the 1946 TV movie Androcles and the Lion before making the transition to the silver screen two years later with a supporting part in producer Alexander Korda’s adaptation of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina (1948, dir. Julien Duvivier). Other notable early screen credits included Richard III (1955, dir. Lawrence Olivier) and Reach for the Sky (1956, dir. Lewis Gilbert) along with a number of British horrors including Terence Fisher’s Dracula (1958) and The Phantom of the Opera (1962) from Hammer Films.
Receiving a BAFTA TV Award in 1957, Gough continued to make extensive television appearances on cult shows such as Doctor Who, The Avengers, Blake’s 7 and Colditz. He was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor BAFTA for his work in The Go-Between (1972, dir. Joseph Losey) and went on to feature in the likes of The Boys From Brazil (1978, dir. Franklin J. Schaffner), Top Secret! (1984, dir. Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker), Out of Africa (1985, dir. Sydney Pollack) and The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988, dir. Wes Craven) before appearing in his most notable role, that of Alfred Pennyworth in Tim Burton’s Batman (1989).
Gough reprised the role of Bruce Wayne’s trusted butler in sequels Batman Returns (1992), Batman Forever (1995) and Batman and Robin (1997) and would also appear as Alfred on BBC Radio’s Batman: The Lazarus Syndrome (1989) and Batman: Knightfall (1994), in addition to a series of commercials in 2001. Gough reunited with Burton in 1999’s Sleep Hollow (1999) and continued this association for his last two roles, providing voice work in both Corpse Bride (2005) and Alice in Wonderland (2010).