Albus Dumbledore is one of the most recognisable Harry Potter characters ever. Throughout the Wizarding World media, the character has been portrayed by four different actors. Today, we will be explaining each of the men who have played the famed Hogwarts headmaster.
Grab your butterbeer because some of this post will be a little depressing. Also, the actors who have played Dumbledore will be put in order of when they appeared.
Richard Harris – The First Of Four Actors To Play Albus Dumbledore
Richard Harris was the first of the four actors to play Albus Dumbledore on screen. Initially, he didn’t want the role, but he took it after receiving orders from his granddaughter, who threatened to never talk to him again if he didn’t.
The version of Dumbledore that Harris played was wise and had a paternal influence on his students, especially Harry Potter.
Harris only appeared in two Harry Potter films, the Philosopher’s Stone/Sorcerer’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets. The actor died of cancer at 72 before The Chamber of Secrets was released in 2002.
It was suggested that Harris’ longtime friend, Peter O’Toole, take over the role, an idea backed entirely by the Harris family. However, the Potter producers decided against this, given O’Toole’s age. The part would become physical in later films with Albus’ duelling scenes.
Michael Gambon – The Second Albus Dumbledore
Upon the death of Richard Harris, the Potter producers found themselves looking for a replacement actor. With Peter O’Toole out due to his age, they needed someone a bit younger for the physical scenes in later films.
They eventually settled on Michael Gambon, who was in his late 50s or early 60s at the time of his casting. Gambon decided early on that his portrayal of Albus Dumbledore would not conflict with what Harris had done in the previous films. He made the character his own by including hardness and a sense of humour that Richard’s iteration did not have.
Gambon’s portrayal of Albus Dumbledore extended from film three, The Prisoner of Azkaban, to the series’ conclusion with Deathly Hallows Part Two. Michael’s likeness and voice were used for the mobile video game, Hogwarts Mystery, set before the books (and the films).
The character Gambon plays is not even close to the books, while Harris’ version is closer to the books.
Toby Regbo – The Forgotten Albus Dumbledore Actor
We mentioned four actors who played Albus Dumbledore. A portrayal people tend to miss is Toby Regbo, who played Dumbledore in a Deathly Hallows: Part One flashback. He also reprised the role in a flashback in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
Regbo’s portrayal of Albus is entirely silent, as there is no dialogue in the few scenes he appears in.
Jude Law – The Hot Dumbledore Actor
Finally, the casting of the fourth Dumbledore actor, Jude Law, came as a surprise. Albus was referenced in Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them before appearing in The Crimes of Grindelwald. Dumbledore is seen to be teaching Defence Against The Dark Arts and Transfiguration but is not yet the headmaster we come to know and love.
Law’s portrayal is fascinating because we see Dumbledore struggle with his feelings for Grindelwald, and his attempt to let go is difficult of what they had, especially after the duel that killed Ariana. Jude did an incredible job with the character’s inner turmoil.