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Hammer & Tim Burton fave, Michael Gough passes on...

Hey folks, Harry here...   A lot has been going on personally, sorry I didn't write about this immediately, but here I am.   

I first came to know Michael Gough, not through the works of Tim Burton, but from a 16mm print of HORROR OF DRACULA that my "uncle" Bob Magnussan used to screen at my house as a young boy.   He also had a print of HORRORS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM which features some of the most ghoulish killing devices ever.   Them binoculars were crazy!  I even remember watching him in KONGA when it screened on cable at some point while I was in High School - and made me cherish my Reynold Brown 1-sheet all the more.   He was a regular in a number of Horror classics from the 70s...  including the Herbert Lom PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, the killer BLACK ZOO or DR TERROR'S HOUSE OF HORRORS or THE SKULL.   He started acting back in the post-War 1940s - but in the minds of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND & CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN readers...  Michael Gough was really one of those regular faces we loved from British Horror.   

He acted in TV shows like THE AVENGERS, BLAKES 7, THE SAINT and numerous others that I'm not familiar with.   Instead, I know TROG - and my favorite all time Michael Gough performance was as the corpse of Emeric Belasco in the amazing fucking THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE...  He's literally the source of all the evil in that evil house.   Michael Gough was the personification of lechery, evil, sadism, sexual debauchery - and in the end... well you'd have to let Roddy tell you.   LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE is my personal favorite Haunted House movie ever made.   I know I'm supposed to say THE HAUNTING or THE INNOCENTS - but I'm a Matheson freak and his LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE is king!  I remember spotting him in THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL and OUT OF AFRICA - and he was always somebody that I loved spotting.   He was that HAMMER guy to me.   I was particularly happy to spot him in THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW - which is a helluva film imo.

That said, for most, it was Tim Burton's 1989 BATMAN and his performance as Alfred that sealed their love, forever.  He played the role 3 more times - and even in BATMAN & ROBIN - the gold nuggets in the shit of that film are between his Alfred and Clooney's Wayne.  They're the best moments in that film, no contest.   But even as he dominated fanboy minds as Alfred, I was loving his turns in films like THE AGE OF INNOCENCE by Scorsese or even when he played that commie bastard, Leo Tolstoy in YOUNG INDIANA JONES!   

Even in his extreme old age - he still gave a little to Tim Burton's films like SLEEPY HOLLOW, CORPSE BRIDE and his last role...  as the voice of the Dodo Bird in the Academy Award winning ALICE IN WONDERLAND.

Michael Gough is a fantastic character actor - and if you loved his Alfred - just check out all the titles I've listed here for ya - and you'll discover a very rich history of cinema and you'll  become intimate with a man that helped raise Tim Burton - and generations of budding film geeks.   Michael Gough was a gentleman and amongst my favorite evil bastards ever (LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE)!   He will be missed!

 

Readers Talkback
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  • March 18, 2011, 7:41 p.m. CST

    Post 0

    by HEADGEEK

    I write up my thoughts upon Michael Gough's passing.

  • March 18, 2011, 7:50 p.m. CST

    A big loss

    by LLcruize2

    As big of a loss this is, the man lived to be 94! A wonderfully long and fruitful life indeed.

  • March 18, 2011, 7:52 p.m. CST

    Hey, don't forget about...

    by eustisclay

    ...Trog. His character was one of those guys who has to meddle in things and not leave well enough alone. You can't wait for him to get his, and he does. And I did like his pervy landlord in the Boys From Brazil. But, man, from Horror of Dracula to Batman to Alice in Wonderland, what a career. Sadly one day, we'll be saying goodbye to Sir Christopher, haven't looked at his imdb page, but that's gotta be in the hundreds.

  • March 18, 2011, 7:58 p.m. CST

    Konga

    by AlGoreHole

    His intensity in really bad movies like Konga could make you laugh out loud. I loved him. He was always taking it right over the top. Konga had just killed some obstruction to his fiendish mad Doctor plans, Gough leans into the big fake Gorilla's face and roars in madness "Konga , you've proven my formula works! Now nothing can stand in my way!" RIP

  • March 18, 2011, 8:05 p.m. CST

    He never did finish his tunnel in Top Secret!

    by Chewtoy

    A genuine pleasure to see on screen. My best to his family and friends, and my thanks for all the entertainment he gave us over the years.

  • March 18, 2011, 8:12 p.m. CST

    He passed away from old age surrounded my family and friends.

    by Mike_D

    He told them he wanted to hang on for St. Patrick's Day, and he did :( R.I.P.

  • March 18, 2011, 8:15 p.m. CST

    His Alfred kept telling people who Batman was

    by SifoDyasJr

    But other than that he was a great part of those films (even the last one).

  • March 18, 2011, 8:17 p.m. CST

    KONGA is a guilty pleasure

    by palimpsest

    GODZILLA in early 60s London, basically.

  • March 18, 2011, 8:19 p.m. CST

    Keaton's tribute

    by knightrider

    As per Hollywood Reporter: “To Mick - my butler, my confidant, my friend, my Alfred, I love you. God bless." The actor signed the note: "Michael (Mr. Wayne) Keaton.” Gough was a great Alfred. RIP.

  • March 18, 2011, 8:26 p.m. CST

    He was also

    by Larry Jay

    The voice of Deckard Cain in Diablo I & II. Rest in Peace.

  • March 18, 2011, 8:29 p.m. CST

    It must of been MacGregor's Syndrome (Stage 2)...

    by Linguo_IS_Dead

    because there's a cure for Stage 1, from what I've heard.

  • March 18, 2011, 8:33 p.m. CST

    Gough as Alfred

    by knightrider

    I remember when I first saw Batman ('89) at the cinema. His performance totally blew me away. He wasn't Alan Napier, and he wasn't the Alfred from the comics. Yet I totally believed in him in that role. He brought that character to life, and added layers and depth I'd never seen until that point. His Alfred was loyal, but now he was reluctant. That scene in the cave where he tells Bruce, "I have no desire to spend my few remaining years grieving for the loss of old friends... or their sons" - just wow. Thinking over his scenes in those movies, he had quite a range... lots of soft, fatherly moments, but also light relief in Batman Forever - the scene where he tells Bruce that Dick has stolen "the *other* car" always makes me smile. Thank you, Mr. Gough.

  • March 18, 2011, 8:36 p.m. CST

    burtons rep company

    by Ciderman

    Tim Burton seems to have always surrounded himself with a semi fluid band of players to bring his imagination to us in screen. Some lasted but a few movies before moving on, Winona, Keaton, Ricci others persist Bonham Carter, Depp, Elfman but for me it was the depth of the supporting players, Hingle, O'Hara, Reubens and Gough that made his pictures what they were and remain today to be, each and everyone a painting of moving pictures and sound. With Goughs passing Mr Burton has one less colour in his filmmakers palette and it will be missed.

  • March 18, 2011, 8:50 p.m. CST

    I TOLD HIM I WASN'T GOING TO THIS CONCEITED CHICK'S PARTY ONCE

    by Meadowe

    And after he ripped up my invitation, I remembered there was some coo' people I wanted to meet up with at said party, and he begrudgingly put back together the invitation that he just ripped up. Just kidding, that's for the Batman Returns fans. Anyway, it's sad that he's gone, but at least he lived almost a full century. I'm sure he's having an Irish Car Bomb served to him by a George Clooney look a like in that big bat cave in the sky.

  • March 18, 2011, 8:50 p.m. CST

    hypnotoad

    by IceTitan

    That's awesome! I had no idea he was Deckard Cain! I don't know much about the third, but do you know if he contributed at all? I realize the guy was in his 90's, but that would be pretty cool if he did :X

  • Get on your job aicn! You'll promote the movies of people who took you out for Italian food but are more than a day late announcing the passing of a person who meant a lot to geeks? wtf!

  • I remember him in Sleepy Hollow, but I didn't know MG was in alice in wonderland, I gotta check it out again just for him.

  • March 18, 2011, 9:14 p.m. CST

    Pay respect to Gough, or else...

    by akiraclass

    your life will be worth less that a truckload of dead rats in a tampon factory. Top Secret was one of the funniest films ever and although I never quite got that joke, his delivery was just awesome. RIP.

  • It's a dumb gag, but I love Gough's dry delivery of the line, "Might I persuade you to take a sandwich with you, Sir...?" (answered with a terse "I'll get drive-through" from Val Kilmer) in Batman Forever. And the only tolerable element of Batman & Robin were the scenes between the gravely-ill Gough and George Clooney, which were actually vaguely touching (then again, ANY moderately half-decent moment would stand out in that neon-drenched shitpile of a movie). I also love his delivery of the line "Taken by the Headless Horseman...taken back to HELL" in Sleepy Hollow. A great talent. He will be missed.

  • March 18, 2011, 9:22 p.m. CST

    Also on doctor who in the sixties

    by Six Demon Bag

    Was even married to a WHO companion..the hot ass Polly

  • March 18, 2011, 9:23 p.m. CST

    RIP Mr. Gough

    by Thanos0145

  • March 18, 2011, 9:33 p.m. CST

    Funny Konga clip

    by AlGoreHole

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vzPBZSw6iQ The quote is at the end that cracks me up. Screaming "KONGA! You've executed my instructions to the last detail!"

  • March 18, 2011, 9:39 p.m. CST

    A man who's talent will be missed.

    by TurboPervo

    Ahh, Mr. Gough. You brought more pleasure to more people than you could know. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

  • March 18, 2011, 9:44 p.m. CST

    Couldn't find my socks without him.

    by seabiscuits

    RIP Alfred

  • March 18, 2011, 9:48 p.m. CST

    he was a great Alfred.RIP Sir.

    by KilliK

  • March 18, 2011, 10:10 p.m. CST

    THE_CHOPPAH bows his head to Sir Michael Gough.

    by THE_CHOPPAH

    One of a kind. And, as great as Caine is, Gough was the perfect Alfred. L'chaim!

  • March 18, 2011, 10:18 p.m. CST

    Caine's great but I too prefer Gough's Alfred

    by jules windex

  • March 18, 2011, 10:35 p.m. CST

    Truly Alfred

    by Valaquen

    He exuded gentlemanly charm and had some great comic and touching scenes in Burton's Batman films. The "I have no desire to spend my few remaining years grieving for the loss of old friends - or their sons," line was great. "Few remaining years" turned out to be two decades, and well lived I hope they were. RIP to Michael Gough, my favourite Alfred [I find Michael Caine to be playing Michael Caine, rather than Alfred, but he works.] Respect to the man, and his family.

  • March 18, 2011, 10:36 p.m. CST

    he was the quintessential alfred!!!

    by JaredP

    no contest!!!!

  • March 18, 2011, 11:34 p.m. CST

    I loved him in Wittgenstein.

    by Sith Witch

  • March 18, 2011, 11:46 p.m. CST

    Damn talk about strange...

    by Ruester

    I was just talking about him yesterday to a friend and how he was nearly 100 years old and still kicking. Weird.

  • March 19, 2011, 12:23 a.m. CST

    Great theatre actor too Harry!

    by batfunk

    Michael Gough was one of the UK's great theatre actors. Check out his obituary on The Guardian newspaper's website.

  • March 19, 2011, 1:07 a.m. CST

    I just watched Hell House the other week and don't remember him.

    by JuanSanchez

    Weird, cause I'm a fan.

  • March 19, 2011, 2:34 a.m. CST

    Michael Gough

    by cushing1967

    Will be missed - an amazing actor. I know it's a personal choice but I think emphasising his performance in The Legend of Hell House does the body of his work a disservice. A few recorded lines and an appearence as a mummified corpse. However it does show that no matter hos small his role he always made an impact.

  • March 19, 2011, 2:40 a.m. CST

    RIP Dr. Paul Flammond

    by SpartacusHughes

    .

  • March 19, 2011, 2:52 a.m. CST

    Michael Gough died about a year after Sleepy Hollow came out

    by TheJudger

    Kirk Douglas died shortly after his helicopter crash. I swear this is not a joke. Michael Gough died a year or so after Sleepy Hollow came out. I remember the CNN news report and the messages online. This was a cold hard fact of reality for me, and then I typed in "Dies" in google a few days ago. Surprise! WTH???? Kirk Douglas was the only other guy that did this. I swear I'm waking up in an alternating universe, but the physics laws says it's impossible to recall past events that did not happen in a current timeline. I ask why is this happening. No I'm not nuts. I guess I am sad that he passed away. I am shocked more than anything else, because in my mind this already happened sometime in December of 2000.

  • March 19, 2011, 3:20 a.m. CST

    RIP Alfred

    by johnqpublic912

    It's funny i just bought the original batman on blu-ray recently and fell in love with his performance allover again. Also sorry to burst anyone's bubble but he was NOT Deckard Cain in Diablo 1 and 2. while you got the name right it's actually a totally different guy. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0299855/

  • March 19, 2011, 3:59 a.m. CST

    RIP Michael Gough

    by OhWhatTheFeckEver

    He also played the Celestial Toymaker opposite William Hartnell and Chancellor Hedin with Peter Davison in Doctor Who. Call yourself a geek, Harry? For shame!

  • March 19, 2011, 5:28 a.m. CST

    Thanks...

    by The_Skook

    ... for marking the death of Michael Gough. Small point Leo Tolstoy was not a 'commie bastard', (an unnecessary little point in an otherwise good obituary). He had socialist principals but believed in democracy. Maybe you're confusing him for another Russian..?

  • March 19, 2011, 5:58 a.m. CST

    "It's vishiswa, it's suppossed to be cold".

    by Stalkeye

    Ha! Loved that scene in (Batman Returns)which Alfred schooled know-it-all Bruce Wayne about gastronomy. Bruce had that look of 'what the fuck is this shit' when spitting out the soup. RIP Sir Gough, my condolences to your family as well as my remorse for your last (alfred)performance which was the clusterfucked Batman and robin. Godspeed ol chap.

  • RIP sir. Also love the look on his face in Batman Returns when Keaton says, "security? Who let Vicki Vale into the Batcave?"

  • March 19, 2011, 9:28 a.m. CST

    TROG

    by Baryonyx

    Gough was in that too!

  • March 19, 2011, 9:28 a.m. CST

    Cushing1967

    by HEADGEEK

    I'm not saying it is his best role, I love him in so many movies... but THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE is amongst my very favorite movies that he ever appeared in - and it's a role that you wait the entire film to see. I mean, Belasco is EVERYTHING in THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE... so much of the dialogue is about him, even though he isn't on screen, his presence is felt - and the film builds Belasco as a forceful character that is not to be denied. It is genius. THEN the cherry on top of the LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE sundae is that in the end... if you didn't recognize Gough's voice from the record - you'd get to see him attempting to sit incredibly still and menacing. LOVE IT! Sure, the man was capable of a great deal more, but the character of BELASCO is built by everyone in the film, but all that that character is capable of lays in the body of Michael Gough. As far as I am aware, the only time that Michael Gough played a dead man for an entire film.

  • March 19, 2011, 10 a.m. CST

    my "uncle"

    by phifty2

    Shudders. Rip. "That was the first and last riding lesson I ever gave him." Looks like Bruce finally caught up with him for letting Vale in the Bat Cave.

  • March 19, 2011, 11:20 a.m. CST

    Hammer's "Phantom Of The Opera"

    by Partyslammer

    On of Michael Gough's better roles was as the bad guy Ambrose D'Arcy in Hammer's early 60's remake of "Phantom." His character is a true prick who steals the Phantom's play driving him insane. Well worth seeking out.

  • March 19, 2011, 11:52 a.m. CST

    He's also in the BBC Batman Radio dramas

    by Dark Knight Lite

    He was a GREAT Alfred. He was a GREAT Jon Harker. He was GREAT - R.I.P.

  • March 19, 2011, 12:04 p.m. CST

    Harry

    by cushing1967

    I mostly agree with you on The Legend of Hell House, for me it is on a par with The Haunting. I can't say that it's better because they treat the subject matter differently, though no less effectively. The Haunting is scarier but Hell House is a more immediate, primal experience. I love it - the opening sequence where the team are gathering to Delia Derbyshire's really effective music at various train stations etc is masterful. And Michael Gough is important as Belasco - but the house is Belasco and Gough's contribution as an actor is less important than John Hough's direction, Robert Jones' art direction, Alan Hume's cinematography and Geoffrey Foot's editing. Anyway, I wasn't dismissing what you wrote to me it was just an odd emphasis on a career that incoroprated so much more. However, it is also a sign as I said of the impact Michael Gough made. The word stalwart could have almost been invented for the guy.

  • March 19, 2011, 1:02 p.m. CST

    A sad loss.

    by david starling

    I caught "Let Him Have It" on a cable channel last week (the sad true story of the execution of Derek Bentley), and Michael Gough's chilling touch when he sentences Derek leaves a severe dry feeling in the mouth. A true powerhouse of a an actor, and one noted not for just one great role, but a legion of standout supports that lent colour to otherwise barren landscapes.

  • March 19, 2011, 1:12 p.m. CST

    For God's sake, stalkeye

    by David Cross

    It's vichyssoise. If you're going to quote that line, at least spell the name of the goddamn soup right. You couldn't take one fucking second to look that up? Why do you disrepect The Gough in this way? Your insolence angers and disappoints him from beyond the grave.

  • March 19, 2011, 1:23 p.m. CST

    RIP Michael Gough

    by bat725

  • March 19, 2011, 1:42 p.m. CST

    At least he outlived Burton's respectful career

    by Mel

    What year did Big Fish come out? That was the last movie Tim Burton ever made.

  • and I used to wish he was my grand-dad. RIP.

  • March 19, 2011, 3:02 p.m. CST

    rest in peace fella

    by Smack_Teddy

    he WAS Alfred before the reboot...like Lee was Dracula to a generation, he just WAS Alfred to me.

  • March 19, 2011, 4:11 p.m. CST

    "Perhaps the Dogs are hungry."

    by George Newman

    RIP

  • March 19, 2011, 4:59 p.m. CST

    Even "I'll cancel the pizzas!"

    by Smack_Teddy

    and "We're going to need a bigger cave"

  • March 19, 2011, 5:51 p.m. CST

    Wow...he looks a lit like Sir Ian McKellan in that pic.

    by Cletus Van Damme

  • March 19, 2011, 10:11 p.m. CST

    "Robin will fly again Someday Master Grayson,I Promise it"

    by MerryHulkster

    Micheal gough was the best alfred ever better then caine hands down!

  • March 19, 2011, 10:22 p.m. CST

    RIP, Mr. Gough. 100 films was quite an achievement.

    by Mr Nicholas

  • March 20, 2011, 3:45 a.m. CST

    Hammer Films

    by Cureguy

    They used to play Hammer Films on basic cable in the 80's a lot. At first I watched just to scope the amazing British babes because they were so hot. But the films were really creepy and atmospheric even though they didn't always have a huge budget. Captain Kronos:Vampire Hunter is one that I remember the most.

  • March 20, 2011, 1:50 p.m. CST

    Original

    by Henry Fool

    Just as Brian Cox paved the way for Anthony Hopkins to play Hannibal Lecter, so did Michael Gough pave the way for Michael Caine's Alfred. Mr. Caine's take on the role will always be my favorite. His relationship with Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne was the emotional core of "Batman Begins". Michael Gough's Alfred was also very much portrayed as a father figure in Tim Burton's Batman, and I think that relationship helped lay the foundation for what we'd see in later films.<br /> <br /> I've always hated Batman & Robin (the movie). But, reflecting on it, Alfred's storyline was really the only engaging part of the film.

  • March 21, 2011, 2:48 a.m. CST

    small back room

    by DylanDenham

    Aka hour of glory, another great supporting role, one of his earliest I believe

  • March 22, 2011, 8:58 p.m. CST

    Great Guy

    by Felix

    Mr. Gough used to buy firewood from my grandfather. By all accounts he was kind and a real gentleman.