Poised and distinguished-looking, with an eloquent speaking voice and a long-lipped sneer, Michael Gough deployed his talent for depicting seducers, serial killers and other well-bred villains to menacing effect.
Although best known to international audiences as Batman’s butler Alfred in the movie franchise, he appeared in numerous West End productions over 40 years. One of his biggest successes was as Gregers Werle in Ibsen’s Wild Duck (1955), “oozing sincerity,” as Kenneth Tynan put it, “while letting the man’s neuroses seep through the facade”.
He appeared in more than 150 films and television shows during a career that began in the 1940s.
Gough starred in the popular British sci-fi series “Doctor Who,” including as the Celestial Toymaker, and was something of a cult figure among horror film fans for roles in movies including “Horror of Dracula” and “The Phantom of the Opera.”
But it was U.S. director Tim Burton who thrust him into the international limelight, casting him as Alfred Pennyworth in “Batman” in 1989 alongside Michael Keaton in the title role.
He would reprise the part of Bruce Wayne’s butler in three more installments, worked with Burton on “Sleepy Hollow” and also provided voices for the director’s “Alice in Wonderland” and “Corpse Bride.”