Francis Michael Gough is a British theater, film and television actor of the last century. Many viewers know him for his role as Alfred Pennyworth, Batman's butler, whom he played in the films by T. Burton and J. Schumacher: Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever and Batman and Robin.
Coming to the cinema in 1946, Gough became famous for his roles in horror films of Hammer Film Productions Limited, founded in 1934 in England and producing horror films for several decades.
Michael was born in the fall of 1916 in Kuala Lumpur in the family of the Englishmen Francis Berkeley Gough and Francis Atkins Bailey.
The boy received his preparatory and primary education in several schools (Rose Hill School, Tunbridge Wells and Durham School). Then he continued his studies at Wye Agricultural College, where he studied agriculture. But Michael's craving for art and creativity was stronger. Therefore, after dropping out of college, he went to study acting at the Old Vic Theater.
During the war, Michael deliberately refused military service, but by law he was obliged to undergo military training in the special non-commissioned non-combatant corps The Non-Combatant Corps (NCC), created in England in 1916 for refuseniks.
From school, Michael dreamed of an acting profession and achieved his goal. His creative biography began with performances in the theater.
In the spring of 1937, the Shakespeare Festival took place at the Old Vic Theater, where the young actor first appeared on the stage. A year later, he took part in the production of several performances at the New Theater and Westminster Theater.
Gough has been active on stage throughout his life. During the 1950s, he played many roles in classical and contemporary plays. His favorite character, according to the artist himself, was King Lear.
Michael was nominated several times for prestigious theater awards, and in 1979 he won the Tony Award.
In 1980 and 2000, he was involved in advertising campaigns for famous brands. He has appeared as his film butler Alfred Pennyworth in commercials for Diet Coke, McVitie's Digestive Biscuits, Amoco and OnStar.
He has also voiced several characters in animated films, including "Dumb Bride" and "Alice in Wonderland" by Tim Burton.
A career in cinema began in 1946 with a small role in the television comedy Leo and Androcles. In the 1948 British film Anna Karenina directed by J. Duvivier, Gough played the role of Nicholas.
This was followed by work in many famous projects of the late 1940s and early 1950s: "Blanche Fury", "Little Back Room", "Blackmail", "Man in a White Suit", "Sword and Rose", "Rob Roy: the elusive robber”,“Sherlock Holmes”,“The Adventures of Robin Hood”,“Richard III”,“Reach Heaven”,“Night Ambush”.
In 1958, Michael appeared on the screen as Arthur Holmwood in the horror film Dracula directed by T. Fisher. Since then, he has repeatedly starred in the horror studio Hammer, which specializes in this genre. Among his similar works, it is worth noting roles in projects: "The Horrors of the Black Museum", "Konga", "The Phantom of the Opera", "The Cursed Zoo", "House of Horror of Doctor Terror", "Skull", "The Curse of the Crimson Altar".
In the late 1980s, Gough began working with acclaimed directors Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher, playing Alfred Pennyworth, the butler of Bruce Wayne (Batman). He became one of two actors (the other was Pat Hingle playing Captain Gordon) to star in four Batman films.
The last time on the screen Gough appeared in the film "Sleepy Hollow" by T. Burton in 1999, and then announced the end of his acting career. He collaborated with the director 2 more times in 2005 and 2010, but only as a voice actor in the projects Corpse Bride and Alice in Wonderland.
Over the years of work in the cinema, Gough has played more than 170 roles in popular television and film projects, including: "Inspector Morse", "Boys from Brazil", "Love in Doubt", "Return to Brideshead", "Inside the Third Reich", "People Smiley "," Witness for the Prosecution "," Dresser "," Top Secret! "," A Christmas Carol "," King Arthur "," From Africa "," Caravaggio "," Hour of the Pig "," Nostradamus "," Young Indiana Jones: A Journey with Father”,“Mouse Fuss”,“The Cherry Orchard”.
Awards and nominations
In 1957, Gough won the British Film Academy Television Award, and in 1971 he was nominated for this award, playing in the film "The Mediator."
In 1979, the artist won the Tony Theater Award for Best Performer in the comedy by playwright A. Ayckborn "Bedroom Farce". The play was staged at the London Prince of Wales Theater.
Gough received a Tony Award nomination in 1988, playing in the production of "Breaking the Code" based on the work of H. Whitemore about the famous British mathematician Alan Turing.
Gough has been nominated twice for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Theater Actor.
Michael got married for the first time in 1937. The actress Diana Graves became his chosen one. In 1942, the couple had a son, Simon Peter. In the late 1940s, the husband and wife separated.
Anne Leon became the second wife of the artist. They met at the theater at one of the rehearsals and got married in December 1950. In the summer of 1953, they had a daughter, whom her parents named Emma Francis. The couple divorced in 1962.
Michael married the third time in 1965 to actress Anna Katharina Willis (Anneke Willis). They lived together until 1979. Anneke had a daughter from her first marriage, Polly, who never knew that her real father was a completely different person. Gough adopted the girl and raised her as his own child. Shortly before her wedding, which was to take place in 1982, the girl died tragically in a car accident.
The last wife of Michael in 1981 was a woman named Henrietta, with whom the actor lived until the end of his days.
Gough passed away at 94. The cause of death was prostate cancer and pneumonia. He passed away at his own home in England in 2011.
The actor's body was cremated, and the ashes were scattered over the English Channel.