Sad news across the world for geeks today, as word has reached us that the wonderful actor, Michael Gough, has passed away. He was 94 years old. To most people, Michael Gough was well known for his role as Alfred Pennyworth in the 1990’s Batman movie series, beginning with Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989 and right through Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin in 1997.
However, this wasn’t Michael Gough’s first involvement in a franchise loved by geeks internationally. A very young Gough appeared as The Celestial Toymaker in Doctor Who back in 1965. The episode, The Celestial Toymaker, saw Gough act with the First Doctor William Hartnell. He would later appear with Fifth Doctor Peter Davison, playing a different role, in the episode Arc of Infinity.
But the time he appeared as The Celestial Toymaker, Gough was beginning to achieve a fan following with horror fans, which had been following his notable roles in a variety of films — including some from the legendary Hammer studios. His most notable role in Hammer Films was in the movie Horror of Dracula, where he appeared alongside Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.
Gough’s work was well known in the United Kingdom through the 1960s and 1970s, but it wasn’t until 1989’s Batman that he received a much larger international following. In a series of films that couldn’t seem to make up its mind about what actor they wanted to play Bruce Wayne/Batman, the filmmakers and fans were more than satisfied with Michael Gough’s memorable portrayal of Alfred.
His work as Alfred was so beloved, Gough found himself reprising the role in other versions of Batman, including the BBC radio adaptation of Batman: Knightfall. Gough continued to work with Tim Burton following the Batman series, appearing in Sleepy Hollow, Corpse Bride, and Alice in Wonderland.
Gough’s wife, Anneke Wills, released a statement regarding his passing today: “As his body was deteriorating this week, he said that he wanted to hang on for St Patrick’s Day. And he did, just. In the end… there is only love.”
On this sad day in which we have lost a legend, most sites will focus only on Gough’s work with the Batman series. Today, we not only remember his moments as Alfred, but also remember his achievements prior to those films.
RIP Michael Gough
November 23, 1916 – March 17, 2011
[Sources: The Doctor Who News Page | CS | Bloody-Disgusting.com | /Film]