Michael Gough, English character actor, Died at 94

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Dead, Francis Michael Gough on the 17th of March 2011, at the age of 94, he was an English character actor who made over 150 film and television appearances.

Born in Kuala Lumpur, Federated Malay States (now Malaysia) on the 23rd of November 1916, and the son of British parents Francis Berkeley Gough and Frances Atkins (née Bailie), he 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.

Gough became known for appearances in horror films including Dracula (1958), Horrors of the Black Museum (1959), The Phantom of the Opera (1962), Black Zoo (1963), Trog (1970), The Corpse (1971), Horror Hospital (1973) and Norman J. Warren’s stockbroker-Satanism debut Satan’s Slave (1976).

He also appeared in the comedy film Top Secret! (1984), alongside Val Kilmer (the latter’s first feature film), with whom he would also work later in the Batman franchise.

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.

In 1981 he was reunited with Laurence Olivier in Granada Television’s Brideshead Revisited playing the doctor to Olivier’s dying Lord Marchmain.

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.

In addition to having played Alfred Pennyworth in both of Tim Burton’s Batman films, he also worked with Burton on several other films: Sleepy Hollow (1999), Corpse Bride (2005) and Alice in Wonderland (2010).

In this regard, he is similar to his successor as Alfred, Michael Caine, who worked with Christopher Nolan on both the Batman films and The Prestige (2006) and Inception (2010).

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.

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.

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