Francis Michael Gough (// GOF; 23 November 1916 – 17 March 2011) was an English character actor who made over 150 film and television appearances. He is known for his roles in the Hammer Horror Films from 1958, with his first role as Sir Arthur Holmwood in Dracula, and for his recurring role as Alfred Pennyworth in all four films of the Tim Burton / Joel Schumacher Batman tetralogy. He would appear in three more Burton films: in Sleepy Hollow, voicing Elder Gutknecht in Corpse Bride and the Dodo in Alice in Wonderland.
Batman Returns (1992)
Francis Michael Gough
23 November 1916
|Died||17 March 2011 (aged 94)|
|Resting place||Cremated; ashes scattered in the English Channel|
|Alma mater||Wye College |
(m. 1940; div. 1948)
(m. 1950; div. 1964)
(m. 1962; div. 1979)
Gough also appeared in popular British television shows, including Doctor Who, as the titular villain in The Celestial Toymaker (1966) and as Councillor Hedin in Arc of Infinity (1983), and the automation-obsessed, wheelchair-bound Dr. Armstrong in "The Cybernauts" (1965) in a memorable episode of The Avengers. In 1956 he received a British Academy Television Award for Best Actor.
At the National Theatre in London, Gough excelled as a comedian, playing a resigned and rueful parent in Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce (1977). When the comedy transferred to Broadway in 1978 he won a Tony Award. One of Gough's funniest West End roles was as Baron von Epp in the 1983 revival of John Osborne’s A Patriot for Me.
Gough was born in Kuala Lumpur, Federated Malay States (now Malaysia) on 23 November 1916, the son of English parents Francis Berkeley Gough and Frances Atkins (née Bailie). Gough was educated at Rose Hill School, Tunbridge Wells, and at Durham School. He moved on to Wye Agricultural College, which he left to go to the Old Vic. During World War II Gough was a conscientious objector, like his friend Frith Banbury, although he was obliged to serve in the Non-Combatant Corps, a member of 6 Northern Company, in Liverpool.
In 1948, Gough made his film debut in Blanche Fury and thereafter, appeared extensively on British television. In 1955, he portrayed one of the two murderers who kill the Duke of Clarence (John Gielgud), as well as the Princes in the Tower in Laurence Olivier's Richard III.
He became known for his appearances in horror films; following his performance as Arthur Holmwood in Hammer’s original Dracula (1958), his horror roles mainly saw him feature as slimy villains, notably in Horrors of the Black Museum (1959), Konga (1961), The Phantom of the Opera (1962), Black Zoo (1963), Trog (1970), The Corpse (1971), Horror Hospital (1973) and Norman J. Warren's cheaply-made Satanism shocker Satan's Slave (1976). He also spoofed his horror persona in What a Carve Up! as a sinister butler. 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 film Batman Forever.
Gough guest-starred in Doctor Who, as the titular villain in The Celestial Toymaker (1966) and also as Councillor Hedin in Arc of Infinity (1983). 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 portrayed Prime Minister Anthony Eden. In 1981, he was reunited with Laurence Olivier in Granada Television's Brideshead Revisited, portraying the doctor to Olivier's dying Lord Marchmain. Gough also appeared in The Citadel (1983) as Sir Jenner Halliday, in 1985's Out of Africa as Lord Delamere and as the fictional deposed KGB spymaster Andrei Zorin in Sleepers.
His later roles included Alfred Pennyworth for Tim Burton, including Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992). He also reprised his role as Alfred in the 1994 BBC radio adaptation of Batman: Knightfall and in Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997) for Joel Schumacher. Gough was one of two actors to have appeared in the four Batman films in the Burton/Schumacher series, the other being Pat Hingle as Commissioner Gordon. Gough worked for Burton again in 1999's Sleepy Hollow and 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.
Gough retired in 1999 after appearing in Burton's Sleepy Hollow. He would emerge from retirement twice more, both as a favour to Burton, to voice Elder Gutknecht in Corpse Bride and the Dodo in Alice in Wonderland.
Gough was married four times, one of his ex-wives is Anne Elizabeth Leon (born 1925). They married in 1950, their daughter Emma Frances was born in 1953 and they divorced in 1964. Another ex-wife is Doctor Who actress Anneke Wills, who portrayed the Doctor's companion Polly. Wills and Gough met at various times during her life, firstly during a theatre trip with her mother in 1952, but they first met formally on the set of Candidate for Murder and the attraction was instant. Gough adopted Wills' daughter Polly and in 1965, their son Jasper was born.
Awards and nominationsEdit
Gough died from pneumonia aged 94 on 17 March 2011 at his home in Salisbury, Wiltshire, having also been ill with prostate cancer for the previous year. A memorial service was held, he was cremated, and his ashes were scattered in the English Channel.
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. God bless. Michael (Mr Wayne) Keaton."
Gough was added in In Memoriam at the 18th Screen Actors Guild Awards.
|1948||Blanche Fury||Laurence Fury|
|1948||Saraband for Dead Lovers||Prince Charles|
|1949||The Small Back Room||Capt. Dick Stuart|
|1951||No Resting Place||Alec Kyle|
|1951||The Man in the White Suit||Michael Corland|
|1951||Night Was Our Friend||Martin Raynor|
|1953||Twice Upon a Time||Mr. Lloyd|
|1953||The Sword and the Rose||Duke of Buckingham|
|1953||Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue||Duke of Montrose|
|1955||Richard III||Dighton, the first murderer|
|1956||Reach for the Sky||Flying Instructor Pearson|
|1957||Ill Met by Moonlight||Andoni Zoidakis|
|1957||The House in the Woods||Geoffrey Carter|
|1958||The Horse's Mouth||Abel|
|1959||Model for Murder||Kingsley Beauchamp|
|1959||Horrors of the Black Museum||Edmond Bancroft|
|1961||Konga||Dr. Charles Decker|
|1961||What a Carve Up!||Fisk, the butler|
|1962||Candidate for Murder||Donald Edwards|
|1962||The Phantom of the Opera||Ambrose D'Arcy|
|1963||Black Zoo||Michael Conrad|
|1965||Game for Three Losers||Robert Hilary|
|1965||Dr. Terror's House of Horrors||Eric Landor||(segment "Disembodied Hand")|
|1966||Alice in Wonderland||March Hare|
|1966||Doctor Who: The Celestial Toymaker||Celestial Toymaker||4 episodes|
|1967||They Came from Beyond Space||Master of the Moon|
|1968||One Night... A Train||Jeremiah|
|1968||Curse of the Crimson Altar||Elder||Also known as The Crimson Cult|
|1969||A Walk with Love and Death||Mad Monk|
|1969||Women in Love||Tom Brangwen|
|1970||Julius Caesar||Metellus Cimber|
|1971||The Go-Between||Mr. Maudsley|
|1971||The Corpse||Walter Eastwood||Also known as Crucible of Horror|
|1972||Savage Messiah||M. Gaudier|
|1972||Henry VIII and His Six Wives||Norfolk|
|1973||Horror Hospital||Dr. Christian Storm|
|1973||The Legend of Hell House||Emeric Belasco||Uncredited|
|1974||QB VII||Dr. Fletcher|
|1975||The Man from Nowhere||Man||Voice, Uncredited|
|1976||Satan's Slave||Uncle Alexander Yorke|
|1978||The Boys from Brazil||Mr. Harrington|
|1978||L'Amour en question||Sir Baldwin|
|1979||Suez 1956||Anthony Eden|
|1982||Inside the Third Reich||Dr. Rust|
|1983||Doctor Who: Arc of Infinity||Councillor Hedin||3 episodes|
|1983||To the Lighthouse||Mr Ramsay|
|1983||The Dresser||Frank Carrington|
|1984||Memed My Hawk||Kerimoglu|
|1984||Top Secret!||Dr. Paul Flammond|
|1984||Oxford Blues||Doctor Ambrose|
|1984||A Christmas Carol||Mr. Poole|
|1985||Arthur the King||Archbishop|
|1985||Out of Africa||Baron Delamere|
|1986||Caravaggio||Cardinal Del Monte|
|1986||The Little Vampire||Uncle Ludwig|
|1987||Inspector Morse: The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn||Philip Ogleby|
|1987||The Fourth Protocol||Sir Bernard Hemmings|
|1988||The Serpent and the Rainbow||Schoonbacher|
|1989||Batman: The Lazarus Syndrome||Voice|
|1991||Let Him Have It||Lord Goddard|
|1992||The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles: Russia 1910||Leo Tolstoy|
|1992||Batman Returns||Alfred Pennyworth|
|1993||The Age of Innocence||Henry van der Luyden|
|1993||The Hour of the Pig||Magistrate Boniface|
|1994||Nostradamus||Jean de Remy|
|1995||Batman Forever||Alfred Pennyworth|
|1997||Batman & Robin|
|1998||What Rats Won't Do||Justice Tomlin|
|1998||St. Ives||Comte de Saint-Yves|
|1999||The Cherry Orchard||Feers|
|1999||Sleepy Hollow||Notary Hardenbrook|
|1999||The Strange Case of Delphina Potocka or The Mystery of Chopin||The Doctor|
|2005||Corpse Bride||Elder Gutknecht||Voice|
|2010||Alice in Wonderland||Uilleam the Dodo Bird||Voice; |
final film role
- Gough in the London Times, 23 June 1997: "There was some indecision as to when I was born. My sister said it was 1916. I'd lost my birth certificate." Gough's wife Henrietta confirmed 1916 (and not 1915) as her husband's birth year in 2010 (see Christian Heger: Mondbeglänzte Zaubernächte. Das Kino von Tim Burton. Marburg 2010).
- "BAFTA Award: Actor in 1956". BAFTA. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
- "Michael Gough obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
- "Michael Gough profile". filmreference.com. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
- Michael Gough profile, Yahoo! Movies; accessed 2 November 2016.
- "- Person Page 18350". thepeerage.com.
- "Michael Gough". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 November 2009.
Education: Wye Agricultural College, England; Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, England, Major – drama; Durham School, England; Rose Hill School, Kent, England
- Eric Shorter (17 March 2011). "Michael Gough obituary". London: guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 21 April 2011.
Michael Gough, actor, born 23 November 1916; died 17 March 2011 ... He was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaya, where his father was a rubber planter. After attending Rose Hill School, Tunbridge Wells, and Durham School, he dropped out of Wye Agricultural College in Kent in order to study acting at the Old Vic.
- Read, Piers Paul (2005). Alec Guinness: the authorised biography. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-4498-5.
- Starkey, Pat (1992). I will not fight: conscientious objectors and pacifists in the North West during the Second World War. Liverpool Historical Studies. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. ISBN 978-0-85323-467-8.
- "Michael Gough, 94, was butler Alfred in “Batman”[dead link]". bcdb.com, 17 March 2011
- Eric Shorter Obituary: Michael Gough, The Guardian, 17 March 2011
- "Michael Gough, Batman's Alfred, dies aged 94". BBC News. 17 March 2011.
- Mike Moody. "Michael Keaton praises Michael Gough". Digital Spy.