Sir Michael John Gambon, CBE (born 19 October 1940) is an Irish actor who has worked in theatre, television and film. A highly respected theatre actor, Gambon is recognised for his role as Philip Marlow in the BBC television serial The Singing Detective and for his role as Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter film series, replacing the late actor Richard Harris.
Gambon was born in Cabra, Dublin during World War II. His father, Edward Gambon, was an engineer, and his mother, Mary (née Hoare), was a seamstress. His father decided to seek work in the rebuilding of London, and so the family moved to Mornington Crescent in North London, when Gambon was five. His father had him made a British citizen - a decision that would later allow Gambon to receive an actual, rather than honorary, knighthood and CBE (although, under the British Nationality Act 1981 anyone born in Ireland before 1949 can still register as a British subject and, after five years' UK residence, as a British citizen).
Brought up as a strict Roman Catholic, he attended St Aloysius Boys' School in Somers Town and served at the altar. He then moved to St Aloysius' College in Hornsey Lane, Highgate, London, whose former pupils include Peter Sellers and Joe Cole. He later attended a school in Kent, before leaving with no qualifications at fifteen. He then gained an apprenticeship with Vickers Armstrong as a toolmaker. By the time he was 21 he was a fully qualified engineer. He kept the job for a further year - acquiring a fascination and passion for collecting antique guns, clocks, watches, and classic cars.