Michael Gough
Francis Michael Gough

(1916-11-23)23 November 1916
Died17 March 2011(2011-03-17) (aged 94)
Resting placeCremated; ashes scattered in the English Channel
Years active1946–1999, 2005, 2010
  • Diana Graves
    (m. 1937; div. 1948)
  • Anne Leon
    (m. 1950; div. 1962)
  • (m. 1965; div. 1979)
  • Henrietta Lawrence
    (m. 1981)

Francis Michael Gough (/ɡɒf/ GOF; 23 November 1916[1] – 17 March 2011) was a British character actor who made more than 150 film and television appearances. He is known for his roles in the Hammer horror films from 1958, with his first role as Sir Arthur Holmwood in Dracula, and for his recurring role as Alfred Pennyworth from 1989 to 1997 in the four Batman films directed by Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher. He appeared in three more Burton films: Sleepy Hollow, voicing Elder Gutknecht in Corpse Bride and the Dodo in Alice in Wonderland.

Gough also appeared in popular British television shows, including Doctor Who (as the titular villain in The Celestial Toymaker (1966) and as Councillor Hedin in Arc of Infinity (1983)), and in an episode of The Avengers as the automation-obsessed wheelchair user Dr. Armstrong in "The Cybernauts" (1965). In 1956 he received a British Academy Television Award for Best Actor.[2]

At the National Theatre in London Gough excelled as a comedian, playing a resigned and rueful parent in Alan Ayckbourn's Bedroom Farce (1977). When the comedy transferred to Broadway in 1978 he won a Tony Award. One of Gough's most well-received West End roles was as Baron von Epp in the 1983 revival of John Osborne's A Patriot for Me.[3]

Early life

Gough was born in Kuala Lumpur, Federated Malay States (now Malaysia) on 23 November 1916, the son of English parents Francis Berkeley Gough, a rubber planter, and Frances Atkins (née Bailie).[4][5] Gough was educated at Rose Hill School, Tunbridge Wells, and at Durham School. He moved on to Wye Agricultural College, which he left to go to the Old Vic.[3][6] During World War II Gough was a conscientious objector, like his friend Frith Banbury, although he was obliged to serve in the Non-Combatant Corps,[7] a member of 6 Northern Company, in Liverpool.[8]


In 1948, Gough made his film debut in Blanche Fury and thereafter appeared extensively on British television. In 1955, he portrayed one of the two murderers (the other was Michael Ripper) who kill the Duke of Clarence (John Gielgud), as well as the Princes in the Tower in Laurence Olivier's Richard III.[9]

He became known for his appearances in horror films; following his performance as Arthur Holmwood in Hammer's original Dracula (1958), his horror roles mainly saw him feature as slimy villains, notably in Horrors of the Black Museum (1959), Konga (1961), The Phantom of the Opera (1962), Black Zoo (1963), Trog (1970), The Corpse (1971), Horror Hospital (1973) and Norman J. Warren's cheaply made Satanism shocker Satan's Slave (1976).[10] He also spoofed his horror persona in What a Carve Up! (1961) as a sinister butler.[11] He also appeared in the comedy film Top Secret! (1984), alongside Val Kilmer (the latter's first feature film),[12] with whom he would also work later in the film Batman Forever.[13]

Gough guest-starred in Doctor Who, as the titular villain in The Celestial Toymaker (1966) and also as Councillor Hedin in Arc of Infinity (1983). He was set to reprise his role as the Toymaker in the proposed 23rd-season story The Nightmare Fair, but the season and the serial were cancelled and never produced. He also played the automation-obsessed wheelchair user Dr. Armstrong in "The Cybernauts", one of the best-remembered episodes of The Avengers (1965), returning the following season as the Russian spymaster Nutski in "The Correct Way to Kill". He was introduced in the first-season episode "Maximum Security" of Colditz as Major "Willi" Schaeffer, the alcoholic second-in-command of the Kommandant (Bernard Hepton). In the Ian Curteis television play Suez 1956 (1979), he portrayed Prime Minister Anthony Eden.[14] In 1981, he was reunited with Laurence Olivier in Granada Television's Brideshead Revisited, portraying the doctor to Olivier's dying Lord Marchmain.[15] He played Mikhel, a slippery assistant to a slain British spy opposite Alec Guinness in the television adaptation of John le Carré's Smiley's People the following year.[16] Gough also appeared in The Citadel (1983) as Sir Jenner Halliday, in 1985's Out of Africa as Lord Delamere and as the fictional deposed KGB spymaster Andrei Zorin in Sleepers.

Later roles

Later in his career, he memorably played Alfred Pennyworth in Tim Burton's blockbuster films Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992).[17] He returned to the role in Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997) for Joel Schumacher.[18] Gough was one of two actors to have appeared in the four Batman films in the Burton/Schumacher series—the other being Pat Hingle as Commissioner Gordon.[19] He also voiced the character in two BBC radio dramas—Batman: The Lazarus Syndrome (1989) and the 1994 adaptation of Batman: Knightfall. Gough reprised his role in a 1989 advertisement for Diet Coke[20] and in 2001, in six television commercials for the OnStar automobile tracking system (informing Batman of the system's installation in the Batmobile).[21]

Gough retired in 1999 after appearing in Burton's Sleepy Hollow. He would emerge from retirement twice more, both as a favour to Burton, to voice Elder Gutknecht in Corpse Bride and the Dodo in Alice in Wonderland.[22]

Personal life

Gough was married four times. He married his first wife Diana Graves in 1937;[23] their son Simon Peter was born in 1942 and they divorced in 1948. His second wife was Anne Elizabeth Leon (born 1925). They married in 1950, their daughter Emma Frances was born in 1953 and they divorced in 1962.[23] His third wife was Doctor Who actress Anneke Wills, who portrayed the Doctor's companion Polly. Wills and Gough met at various times during her life, firstly during a theatre trip with her mother in 1952, but they first met formally on the set of Candidate for Murder and the attraction was instant. Gough adopted Wills's daughter Polly and in 1965 their son Jasper was born. Polly died in a motorcycle accident in 1982 at the age of 19,[24] believing that Gough was her biological father. Gough married Henrietta Lawrence (his fourth wife) in 1981, and they remained together until his death.[3]

Awards and nominations

Gough won Broadway's 1979 Tony Award as Best Actor (Featured Role – Play) for Bedroom Farce. He was also nominated in the same category in 1988 for Breaking the Code.[25]

In 1957 he won a BAFTA TV Award and in 1971, was nominated for a BAFTA Film Award for his work in The Go-Between.[26]

He was nominated for a Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play in 1979 for Bedroom Farce and again in 1988 for Breaking the Code.[25]


Gough died from cancer aged 94 on 17 March 2011 at his home in Salisbury, Wiltshire.[3] A memorial service was held, he was cremated, and his ashes were scattered in the English Channel.

He was survived by his fourth wife Henrietta, daughter Emma and son Simon (an actor who is married to actress Sharon Gurney, the daughter of the Upstairs, Downstairs actress Rachel Gurney) and Jasper, a photographer.[27] Michael Keaton, who played the title character in the first two theatrical Batman films opposite Gough, paid tribute to him, describing him as sweet and charming, and wrote "To Mick – my butler, my confidant, my friend, my Alfred. I love you. God bless. Michael (Mr. Wayne) Keaton."[28]

Gough was added to In Memoriam at the 18th Screen Actors Guild Awards.



Year Title Role Notes
1948 Anna Karenina Nicholai
Blanche Fury Laurence Fury
Saraband for Dead Lovers Prince Charles
1949 The Small Back Room Capt. Dick Stuart
1950 Ha'penny Breeze Uncredited
1951 Blackmailed Maurice Edwards
No Resting Place Alec Kyle
The Man in the White Suit Michael Corland
Night Was Our Friend Martin Raynor
1953 Twice Upon a Time Mr. Lloyd
The Sword and the Rose Duke of Buckingham
Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue Duke of Montrose
1955 Richard III Dighton, the first murderer
1956 Reach for the Sky Flying Instructor Pearson
1957 Night Ambush Andoni Zoidakis
The House in the Woods Geoffrey Carter
1958 Horror of Dracula Arthur Holmwood
The Horse's Mouth Abel
1959 Model for Murder Kingsley Beauchamp
Horrors of the Black Museum Edmond Bancroft
1961 Konga Dr. Charles Decker
Mr. Topaze Tamise
What a Carve Up! Fisk, the butler
1962 Candidate for Murder Donald Edwards Edgar Wallace Mysteries
The Phantom of the Opera Ambrose D'Arcy
1963 Black Zoo Michael Conrad
Tamahine Cartwright
1965 Game for Three Losers Robert Hilary Edgar Wallace Mysteries
Dr. Terror's House of Horrors Eric Landor (segment "Disembodied Hand")
The Skull Auctioneer
1967 They Came from Beyond Space Master of the Moon
Berserk! Albert Dorando
1968 One Night... A Train Jeremiah
Curse of the Crimson Altar Elder Also known as The Crimson Cult
1969 A Walk with Love and Death Mad Monk
Women in Love Tom Brangwen
1970 Julius Caesar Metellus Cimber
Trog Sam Murdock
1971 The Go-Between Mr. Maudsley
The Corpse Walter Eastwood Also known as Crucible of Horror
1972 Savage Messiah M. Gaudier
Henry VIII and His Six Wives Norfolk
1973 Horror Hospital Dr. Christian Storm
The Legend of Hell House Emeric Belasco Uncredited
1975 Galileo Sagredo
The Man from Nowhere Man Voice, Uncredited
1976 Satan's Slave Uncle Alexander Yorke
1978 The Boys from Brazil Mr. Harrington
L'Amour en question Sir Baldwin Credited as Michaël Gough
1981 Venom David Ball
1983 The Dresser Frank Carrington
1984 Memed My Hawk Kerimoglu
Top Secret! Dr. Paul Flammond
Oxford Blues Doctor Ambrose
1985 Out of Africa Baron Delamere
1986 Caravaggio Cardinal Del Monte
1987 Maschenka Vater
The Fourth Protocol Sir Bernard Hemmings
1988 The Serpent and the Rainbow Dr. Earl "Schoonie" Schoonbacher
Rarg Professor Short Film
1989 Strapless Douglas Brodie
1989 Batman Alfred Pennyworth
Batman: The Lazarus Syndrome Voice
1990 The Garden
1991 Let Him Have It Lord Goddard
The Wanderer Veteran Wanderer Short Film
1992 Batman Returns Alfred Pennyworth
1993 Wittgenstein Bertrand Russell
The Age of Innocence Henry van der Luyden
The Advocate Magistrate Boniface
1994 Uncovered Don Manuel
Nostradamus Jean de Remy
1995 Batman Forever Alfred Pennyworth
1997 Batman & Robin
1998 What Rats Won't Do Justice Tomlin
St. Ives Comte de Saint-Yves
The Whisper Nikolay 1947 Short Film
1999 The Cherry Orchard Feers
Sleepy Hollow Notary James Hardenbrook
The Strange Case of Delphina Potocka or The Mystery of Chopin The Doctor
2005 Corpse Bride Elder Gutknecht Voice
2010 Alice in Wonderland Uilleam the Dodo Bird Voice;
final film role


Year Title Role Notes
1946 Androcles and the Lion Spintho Television film
1949 Crime Passionel Hugo
Whitehall Wonders Stephen Blair
1950 Master of Arts Ronald Knight, MA
1951 Androcles and the Lion Captain
1951–1956 BBC Saturday-Night Theatre Michael / Francis Hubbard / Lt. Geoffrey Ainsworth 3 episodes
1953 Wednesday Theatre Brama-Glinsky Episode: "Curtain Down"
1954 The Lover The Lover Television short
Rheingold Theatre Charlie Episode: "The Man Who Heard Everything"
Stage by Stage Loveless Episode: "The Relapse or, Virtue in Danger"
1955 Sherlock Holmes Mr. Russel Partridge Episode: "The Case of the Perfect Husband"
1955–1958 ITV Television Playhouse Sir David Lavering / David Ryerson / Hugo / Dawson 5 episodes
1955–1961 ITV Play of the Week Rev. Claude Bell / Georges Renaud / Gregers Werle / Rakitin 4 episodes
1956 Theatre Royal The Stranger Episode: "Just Off Piccadilly"
Assignment Foreign Legion Andre La Palme Episode: "The Outcast"
Fanny The Admiral Television film
1956–1959 Armchair Theatre George in 'Double Exit' / The Doctor 2 episodes
1957 The Two Mrs. Carrolls Geoffrey Carroll Television film
The Peaceful Inn Hatlock
1959 World Theatre Cassius Episode: "Julius Caesar"
Dancers in Mourning Squire Mercer 6 episodes
1960 DuPont Show of the Month Dr. Livesey Episode: "Treasure Island"
The Adventures of Robin Hood Boland Episode: "The Edge and the Point"
1961 Thirty-Minute Theatre Currently Unknown Episode: "A Matter of Principle"
Rendezvous Scionneau Episode: "The Executioner"
1962 Drama 61-67 Charles Episode: "Drama '62: The Lonesome Road"
1962–1965 The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre Robert Hilary / Donald Edwards 2 episodes
1964 The Great War Various Episode: "So Sleep Easy in Your Beds"
The Saint Colin Phillips Episode: "The Imprudent Politician"
The Count of Monte Cristo Gérard de Villefort 7 episodes
1964–1967 Theatre 625 Harry / Geoffrey Melville / Clodius Pulcher 3 episodes
1965 Undermind Rev. Austen Anderson Episode: "Flowers of Havoc"
The Man in Room 17 Andrei Konev Episode: "The Seat of Power"
Sunday Night Pausanias Episode: "The Drinking Party"
1965–1967 The Avengers Nutski / Dr. Armstrong 2 episodes
1966 BBC Play of the Month Eliut Episode: "Days to Come"
Alice in Wonderland March Hare Television play
Doctor Who: The Celestial Toymaker Celestial Toymaker 4 episodes
1966–1967 Orlando Harry Prentice 5 episodes
1967 Pride and Prejudice Mr. Bennet 6 episodes
1968 Thirty-Minute Theatre Ted Warner Episode: "Standing by for Santa Claus"
Detective Holroyd Episode: "Lesson in Anatomy"
For Amusement Only Henry Episode: "Henry the Incredible Bore"
Journey to the Unknown Royal Episode: "Eve"
The Champions Major Joss Episode: "Happening"
Treasure Island Squire Trelawney 7 episodes
1969–1972 Omnibus Vincent van Gogh / Astronaut 2 episodes
1971 Seeing and Believing Job Episode: "The Trial of Job"
Kate Alan Tatley Episode: "Good and Proper"
Search for the Nile David Livingstone 3 episodes
1972 Spy Trap Cooper Episode: "Who Among Us?: Part 6"
The Main Chance Sir George Andrews Episode: "One for the House"
Colditz Major Schaeffer Episode: "Maximum Security"
The Man Who Came to Dinner Beverly Carlton Television film
1973 The Protectors Shkodër Episode: "One and One Makes One"
The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes Governor Episode: "Cell 13"
Moonbase 3 Sir Benjamin Dyce Episode: "View of a Dead Planet"
1973–1983 Crown Court Mr. Justice Galbraith / Justice Galbraith / Dr. De Quincey 3 Episodes
1974 QB VII Dr. Fletcher Episode: "Part Three"
Shoulder to Shoulder Dr. Richard Pankhurst 2 episodes
Fall of Eagles Helphand Episode: "The Secret War"
Late Night Drama Potter Episode: "A Brisk Dip Sagaciously Considered"
ITV Playhouse Bill Wakely Episode: "The Gift of Friendship"
Microbes and Men Sir Almroth Wright Episode: "The Search for the Magic Bullet"
Notorious Woman Henri de Latouche Episode: "Success"
Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill Mr. Yule Episode: "Lady Randolph"
1975 Sutherland's Law James Shaw Episode: "In at The Deep End"
Ten from the Twenties Peter Episode: "The Fifty Pound Note"
1975–1976 Centre Play Father / Matt 2 episodes
1976 Shades of Greene Ransom Episode: "The Case for the Defence"
Life and Death of Penelope Winthrop Episode: "The Reaper"
1979 Suez 1956 Sir Anthony Eden Television film
1980 Blake's 7 Hower Episode: "Volcano"
1981 Brideshead Revisited Doctor Grant Episode: "Brideshead Revisited"
1982 Barriers Old man Episode: "#2.6"
Inside the Third Reich Dr. Rust Television film
Smiley's People Mikhel Television Miniseries
The Agatha Christie Hour Sir George Durand Episode: "The Fourth Man"
Strangers Professor Whittingham Episode: "The Lost Chord"
Witness for the Prosecution Judge Television film
Play for Today Professor Burrows Episode: "Another Flip for Dominick"
Cymbeline Belarius Television Film
1983 Doctor Who: Arc of Infinity Councillor Hedin 3 episodes
To the Lighthouse Mr. Ramsay Television film
The Citadel Sir Jenner Halliday Episode: "Part 10"
Andy Robson Arthur 2 episodes
Heartattack Hotel Mr. Todd Television film
1984 Mistral's Daughter Cardinal 3 episodes
The Biko Inquest Professor Loubser / State Pathologist Television film
A Christmas Carol Mr. Poole
1985 Arthur the King Archbishop
Hilary Hilary's Dad Episode: "#1.4"
Lace II Unnamed Character Television film
1986 Screen Two Peter Episode: "Hard Travelling"
Ladies in Charge Arthur James Episode: "Dangerous Prelude"
1986–1987 The Little Vampire Uncle Theodor / Uncle Ludwig 7 episodes
1987 Inspector Morse Philip Ogleby Episode: "The Silent World of Nichlas Quinn"
A Killing on the Exchange Charles Makepeace 2 episodes
Screenplay Albani Episode: "Cariani and the Courtesans"
1988 Ten Great Writers of the Modern World Reader Episode: "T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land"
1989 Mystery!: Campion Mr. Hayhoe 2 episodes
After the War Professor Charlie Rampling Episode: "Rise and Fall"
Screen One Mr. Maggs Episode: "The Mountain and the Molehill"
The Shell Seekers Roy Brookner Television film
Blackeyes Maurice James Kingsley 4 episodes
1990 Boon Donald Bannerman Episode: "Best Left Buried"
1991 The Diamond Brothers Mr. Waverly 6 episodes
Sleepers Andrei Zorin 4 episodes
Children of the North Arthur Apple
1992 The Good Guys Hector Episode: "The MacQuarrie Treasure"
1995 A Village Affair Sir Ralph Unwin Television film
The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat Voices 4 episodes
The Haunting of Helen Walker Barnaby Television film
1996 Young Indiana Jones: Travels with Father Leo Tolstoy


  1. ^ Gough in the London Times, 23 June 1997: "There was some indecision as to when I was born. My sister said it was 1916. I'd lost my birth certificate". Gough's wife Henrietta confirmed 1916 (and not 1915) as her husband's birth year in 2010 (see Christian Heger: Mondbeglänzte Zaubernächte. Das Kino von Tim Burton. Marburg 2010).
  2. ^ "BAFTA Award: Actor in 1956". BAFTA. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Shorter, Eric (17 March 2011). "Michael Gough obituary". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  4. ^ "Michael Gough profile". filmreference.com. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  5. ^ Michael Gough profile, Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  6. ^ Hal Erickson (2012). "Michael Gough". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2009. Education: Wye Agricultural College, England; Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, England, Major – drama; Durham School, England; Rose Hill School, Kent, England
  7. ^ Read, Piers Paul (2005). Alec Guinness: the authorised biography. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-4498-5.
  8. ^ Starkey, Pat (1992). I will not fight: conscientious objectors and pacifists in the North West during the Second World War. Liverpool Historical Studies. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. ISBN 978-0-85323-467-8.
  9. ^ "Alfred from earlier 'Batman' pics dies". Variety. 17 March 2011. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  10. ^ Hutchings, Peter (2017). Historical Dictionary of Horror Cinema. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 153. ISBN 9781538102435.
  11. ^ Rigby, Jonathan (2004). English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema. Richmond, London: Reynolds & Hearn. p. 118. ISBN 190311179X.
  12. ^ Canby, Vincent (22 June 1984). "FILM: 'TOP SECRET!', PARODY OF SPY MOVIES". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  13. ^ Hevesi, Dennis (18 March 2011). "Michael Gough, Known as Butler in 'Batman,' Dies at 94". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  14. ^ "Michael Gough". The Daily Telegraph. 17 March 2011. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  15. ^ Vermilye, Jerry (1992). The Complete Films of Laurence Olivier. Secaucus, New Jersey: Carol Publishing Group. p. 263. ISBN 0-8065-1302-0.
  16. ^ Von Gunden, Kenneth (1987). Alec Guinness: The Films. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 253. ISBN 0899502059.
  17. ^ Gough's best friend, actor Alan Napier, had played Alfred on TV in the 1960s and recommended Gough for the movie role.
  18. ^ Schrader, Chris (17 March 2011). "'Batman' Actor Michael Gough Passes Away". Screen Rant. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  19. ^ "Pat Hingle: Commissioner Gordon in four of the Batman films". The Times. 6 January 1996. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  20. ^ "Batman Drinks Diet Coke? Holy Cola, Batman 3/8". Associated Press. 6 September 1989. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  21. ^ Lee, Will (7 April 2000). "Batman does commercials". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  22. ^ Sellers, Robert (19 March 2011). "Michael Gough: Actor who rounded off a long career with his best-known role, Bruce Wayne's butler in the 'Batman' films". The Independent. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
  23. ^ a b "Gough, (Francis) Michael (1916–2011)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/103617. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  24. ^ "Michael Gough: Actor who rounded off a long career with his best-known". Independent.co.uk. 19 March 2011.
  25. ^ a b Jones, Kenneth (18 March 2011). "Michael Gough, Tony Award Winner Who Later Starred in "Batman" Films, Dies at 94". Playbill. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  26. ^ "Film | Supporting Actor in 1972". British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  27. ^ "Michael Gough, Batman's Alfred, dies aged 94". BBC News. 17 March 2011. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  28. ^ Moody, Mike (18 March 2011). "Michael Keaton praises Michael Gough". Digital Spy. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
First actor The Toymaker actor 1966 Succeeded byNeil Patrick Harris Preceded byAlan Napier Alfred Pennyworth Actor 1989 – 1997 Succeeded byMichael Caine