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Michael Gough Remembered: Batman Actor

Michael Gough

Michael Gough, whose only important role in his 60-year career – if news reports are to be believed – seems to have been that of Batman’s butler in Tim Burton’s 1989 film and its sequels, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, and Batman & Robin, died earlier today. Gough was either 93 or 94, depending on the source.

Those whose idea of movie history is restricted to Hollywood blockbusters made in the last three decades would have no idea – and wouldn’t care less, really – that among Gough’s other film credits, almost invariably in supporting roles, are Julien Duvivier’s hauntingly beautiful version of Anna Karenina (1948), starring Vivien Leigh; Alexander Mackendrick’s brilliant comedy The Man in the White Suit (1951), with Alec Guinness; Joseph Losey’s superb class drama The Go-Between (1971), as Julie Christie’s father (a role that earned him a Best Supporting Actor British Academy Award nomination); and a series of cult horror flicks, among them The Horror of Dracula (1958), Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965), The Skull (1967), and Joan Crawford’s last feature, the hilarious Trog (1970).

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Among the Kuala Lumpur-born (Nov. 23, 1916 or 1917) actor’s other film appearances are The Boys from Brazil (1978), The Dresser (1983), Out of Africa (1985), The Age of Innocence (1993), and Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow (1999). Gough also provided his voice for a couple of other Burton efforts: as Elder Gutknecht in Corpse Bride (2005) and the Dodo Bird in Alice in Wonderland (2010).

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