Michael Gambon to receive the IFTA Lifetime Achievement Award in Dublin

3rd of March 2017

The Irish Film & Television Academy has announced that the revered Irish actor Michael Gambon will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, at the 2017 IFTA Film & Drama Awards Ceremony, on Saturday, April 8th in Dublin.

Gambon will be honoured by his Irish Academy peers in recognition of his achievement across a diverse body of work over 50 years in film & television. The Award is the highest honour the Academy can bestow, and will see him follow in the footsteps of previous IFTA Honorary Award recipients including Maureen O’Hara, David Kelly, John Boorman, Jim Sheridan, Fionnula Flanagan and Liam Neeson.

Gambon is a unique and beloved Irish talent who has entertained and won the hearts and minds of audiences far and wide, working alongside actors such as Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Julia Roberts, Colin Firth, Maggie Smith, Michael Caine, Gwyneth Paltrow, Daniel Radcliffe, Ralph Fiennes, Ciaran Hinds and Colm Meaney.

He has worked with great directors across so many genres – Robert Altman, Tim Burton, Dustin Hoffman, Wes Anderson, Tom Hooper, Joel  & Ethan Coen, Stephen Frears, Peter Greenaway among many others over the years (see credits below).

Younger audiences worldwide have connected with Gambon as their beloved Dumbledore in the Harry Potter franchise that has made over $10billion worldwide at the box office (Forbes).

Gambon is one of the leading thespians of his generation, having started out in theatre under the guidance of Laurence Olivier.  He was invited to audition for James Bond in 1970 and went on to hone his craft on stage and screen over the following decade. He received universal critical acclaim in 1986 for his spectacular performance as tormented mystery writer Philip Marlow in Dennis Potter’s BBC Drama The Singing Detective, one of the most famous and provocative dramas of its time, which challenged boundaries with its daring concept and bold characters. 

Gambon’s most recent roles include TV Dramas such as ‘Churchill's Secret’, ‘The Hollow Crown’, ‘The Nightmare World's of HG Wells’, ‘Fortitude’ and his feature film work including 'Viceroy's House', 'Mad to be Normal', and 'Dad's Army'.

His next project looks set to see him reunite with Michael Caine to play a part of a gang of elderly London Diamond robbers alongside Jim Broadbent and Ray Winstone, in the yet untitled film about the Hatton Garden jewellery heist of 2015. 

Aine Moriarty, IFTA CEO said“Michael Gambon is a unique Irish talent who brings passion, skill and charisma to every screen role.  A consummate professional with extraordinary wit and good humour, he has consistently delivered superb performances across a diverse range of pivotal roles and characters.  He is a true role model for younger generations of actors to follow”.

Michael Gambon said, “I am overwhelmed and delighted to receive such an honour from the Irish Academy.  I was born in Dublin and have been lucky enough to work here many times over the years.”

Mr. Gambon will be joined at the ceremony in Dublin by  host of family, friends, past co-stars and colleagues from the world of film, stage and television to celebrate his Lifetime Achievement Award.

The IFTA Film & Drama Awards will take place in the Round Room at the Mansion House, on Saturday, April 8th in Dublin, and will be recorded for broadcast primetime on RTÉ One.

The 2017 IFTA Nominations will be announced on Wednesday 8th March shortlisting the best achievements on screen both in front and behind the camera.  The Irish film & television industry continues to grow from strength to strength with increased international recognition and global box office success.


Michael Gambon's career as an actor spans six decades, across screen, radio, television and theatre. From Harold Pinter to Harry Potter, Gambon is a leading light of the film industry, from his iconic role in the television drama The Singing Detective, to his role in Peter Greenaway's controversial 'The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover'.   British titles include ‘Layer Cake’, ‘Gosford Park’, ‘Wings of the Dove’ and ‘The King’s Speech’.  International performances include Michael Mann's ‘The Insider’, and Wes Andersons ‘Steve Zissou and the Life Aquatic’.  Since starring as Dumbledore in the Harry Potter Franchise, Gambon is known the world over.   Michael is well known in Ireland for his stage performances, especially at The Gate Theatre. His screen work in Ireland also have strong theatre connections, including his work in ‘The Actors’, directed by Conor McPherson, and co-starring Michael Caine and Dylan Moran; ‘Endgame’ also directed by Conor McPherson and co-starring David Thewlis, as part of the Beckett on Screen series, and ‘Nothing Personal’, directed by Thaddeus O'Sullivan.

Born in Cabra in Dublin in 1940, Michael left with his family for the UK at the age of five and attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in his early twenties while studying as a toolmaker’s apprentice. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Classical Acting.  At 24, Gambon made his professional stage debut, performing in The Gate Theatre Dublin's 1962 production of Othello.  He joined the National Theatre Company in England under the guidance of Laurence Olivier in 1963.   

He rose through the ranks, alongside contemporaries such as Anthony Hopkins, and chose a combination of theatre, film and television to become one of our most cherished actors.  In 1970, ‘James Bond’ producer Cubby Broccoli asked Gambon to audition for the role to replace George Lazenby.   His television, film and stage performances through the 1970s and 1980s included the extraordinary and iconic performance in 1986 as tormented mystery writer Philip Marlow in the Dennis Potter penned  BBC  Drama ‘The Singing Detective’.  That performance won him the first of four BAFTA Awards.  Michael received a knighthood in July 1998.  He is most well-known to younger audiences for his recurring performance as Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter franchise.