Batman actor Michael Gough dies

Michael Gough, who played butler Alfred to Bruce Wayne in four Batman films, has died.
British actor Michael Gough is best known for playing the butler Alfred in four Batman films. (Warner Bros.)

British actor Michael Gough, who portrayed the butler Alfred to Bruce Wayne in four Batman films, has died at the age of 94.

Gough died at his U.K. home, surrounded by family. He had been ill for the past year, but no cause of death was released.

A classically trained actor, Gough appeared in 150 films over a career that spanned 65 years.

Director Tim Burton cast him as the kindly and very correct butler Alfred Pennyworth after having recognized him from the Hammer horror films of the 1960s.

Burton, and later director Joel Schumacher, kept Gough on as Alfred through Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, and Batman & Robin, though Michael Keaton was eventually replaced as the Caped Crusader by Val Kilmer, and then George Clooney.

Burton also called on the Kuala Lumpur-born Gough for a role in Sleepy Hollow and voice work on Corpse Bride and Alice in Wonderland.

Theatre-trained actor

Michael Gough, seen at right with John Stratton, often portrayed well-bred villains, including in the play Colombe. (Maurice Ambler/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Trained at the Old Vic Theatre School, Gough had numerous stage roles in London and Liverpool, where the Old Vic operated during the Second World War.

Though he made his movie debut in 1946 in Androcles and the Lion, he alternated film and TV roles with stage work. Gough played a series of seducers and well-bred villains in films such as Horrors of the Black Museum (1959), in Black Zoo (1963), Berserk (1967) and Trog (1970).

Gough was a familiar face on British television, appearing in programs such as The Avengers, The Saint and Inspector Morse, as well as a memorable turn as The Celestial Toymaker in the 1960s incarnation of Doctor Who.

He also appeared in '60s TV series The Adventures of Robin Hood and The Count of Monte Cristo.

Gough won a Tony Award in New York in 1977 for his portrayal of a downtrodden husband in Alan Ayckbourn's Bedroom Farce, which had moved to Broadway from London's West End.

In later years, he was often cast as a British gentleman in the Alfred mould.

Gough was married four times. He is survived by his wife, Henrietta, a daughter and two sons.