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Michael Gough, R.I.P.

Comics readers and film aficionados were sad to hear on Thursday that British screen actor Michael Gough passed away at the age of 94. The veteran screen actor appeared in over 150 films and television shows since the 1940s, but it was his role of butler and bat-confidant Alfred Pennyworth in four Batman films that endeared Gough to generations of superhero fans.Michael Gough first appeared as Alfred in Tim Burton’s 1989 film, Batman, alongside Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne. His performance as the trustworthy, paternal and endlessly clever butler was strong and, as it turned out, iconic. Gough’s almost bitchily sardonic take on the character endured throughout four films, three Batmen and two directors, and informed depictions of Alfred on television and in comic books for many years to come.

The four Batman films were not Gough’s first dance with the devil of genre fiction, of course. Gough appeared in a memorable role as the Celestial Toymaker of the original Doctor Who, played in The Avengers, and became known to Tim Burton for his work on the Hammer horror films of the 1950s and 1960s. In addition to the two Batman films he directed, Burton cast Gough in Sleepy Hollow, The Corpse Bride and Alice in Wonderland.

 

Michael Gough’s work contributed to a generation’s love of comic book fiction, and everyone here at ComicsAlliance sends our deepest respects and condolences to his friends and family.

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