31 OCTOBER 2002

Peter O’Toole, who has expressed deep sadness at the recent loss of his long-time friend and colleague Richard Harris, is said to be a possible candidate for the late actor’s role in the Harry Potter films.

The two towering talents attended drama school together, and since Richard's death last Friday, Peter has already emerged as a firm favourite with the public to take over as Professor Dumbledore in the third Harry Potter film, The Prisoner Of Azkaban. Shooting for the movie is due to start in March of next year.

However, another hot candidate for the Dumbledore part is veteran British actor Christopher Lee, who was offered the part three years ago but turned it down due to other commitments. Christopher has appeared in Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones and turned in a chilling performance as corrupt wizard, Saruman, in The Lord Of The Rings. If he were to land the Harry Potter role, he would be the only actor to have appeared in all three of the blockbusters.

Other potential Dumbledores in a field of imposing older actors include Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Derek Jacobi, Lord Attenborough and the fourth Doctor Who, Tom Baker. Harry Robinson, who played Richard Harris's double in the films, is also a possible. The film’s production company, Warner Bros, who are said to be shocked and saddened by Richard's death, have not, however, made any announcement regarding a short list for the part.

Photo: ©
The two men were lifelong friends and shared a running joke. Whenever Richard (on left) was asked for his autograph, he would sign Peter's name insteadPhoto: © PA Click on photo to enlarge
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