In his fifty-year career, he won five Baftas and played the headmaster of the wizarding school in six episodes of the Harry Potter saga.

"Beloved husband and father, Michael died peacefully in hospital with his wife Anne and son Fergus at his bedside, following pneumonia," his family said in a statement.

For the British public, he also played Commissioner Maigret in the eponymous series broadcast on the ITV channel.

Michael Gambon had made his first stage appearance in a production of Othello in Dublin in 1962.

He was knighted for his contribution to the entertainment industry in 1998.

He had also given his name to a corner of the circuit of the Top Gear car show, which he had negotiated spectacularly, narrowly missing the accident.

The former host of the show, Jeremy Clarkson, hailed on the social network X (ex-Twitter) an "extremely funny" man and an "incredible guest".

© 2023 AFP