The Supporting Stars of 'Harry Potter'
Actress: Helena Bonham Carter
"Harry Potter" Role: Bellatrix Lestrange
Before she was known for playing the most wicked member of the Death Eaters, Helena Bonham Carter was known as a "corset queen," starring in one English period drama after another, from "A Room With a View" to "Where Angels Fear to Tread," to " The Wings of the Dove." For that last movie, Bonham Carter garnered her first Oscar nomination. She received her second one for "The King's Speech." Less commonly known is that Bonham Carter also played Don Johnson's love interest during the '86-'87 season of "Miami Vice."
Actor: Alan Rickman
"Harry Potter" Role: Severus Snape
Rickman might not have earned any Oscar nominations (more proof that there's no justice in this world) but he has received two Tony nominations for his brilliant performances for "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" in 1987 and in Noel Coward's "Private Lives" in 2002. He also played one of the most awesomely evil villains in cinema: Hans Gruber, the German terrorist from "Die Hard."
Actor: Ralph Fiennes
"Harry Potter" Role: Lord Voldemort
Before he played He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, Ralph Fiennes first garnered critical attention, and his first Oscar nomination, as another memorable movie villain -- Amon Goth from "Schindler's List." Fiennes put on 28 pounds for the role of the Nazi officer by drinking Guinness beer.
Actor: David Thewlis
"Harry Potter" Role: Remus Lupin
David Thewlis was a relative unknown until he starred in Mike Leigh's bleak drama "Naked," which won him an acting prize at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival. He went on to star opposite Brad Pitt in "Seven Years in Tibet," which got him banned from entering China. You can see him this year in Steven Spielberg's "War Horse."
Actor: Richard Harris
"Harry Potter" Role: Albus Dumbledore
Richard Harris died shortly before the release of "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets." Prior to that, he earned two Oscar nominations for "" (1963) and "The Field" (1991), as well as a Golden Globe for "Camelot" (1968). He even managed to get a top ten hit on the U.S. charts in 1968 with his rendition of "MacArthur Park."
Actor: Michael Gambon
"Harry Potter" Role: Albus Dumbledore
Prior to taking over for Richard Harris as Harry Potter's bearded mentor, Michael Gambon had a brilliant career on the stage, winning just about every British acting award under the sun. He was in the running to replace George Lazenby as James Bond but ultimately lost out to the more famous Roger Moore. He also starred in the landmark British miniseries "The Singing Detective." If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor. It's really quite good.
Actor: Maggie Smith
"Harry Potter" Role: Minerva McGonagall
Dame Maggie Smith must have a very impressive trophy rack. She's earned two Golden Globes, an Emmy, a Tony, and a pair of Oscars for "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" (1969) and for "California Suite."
Actor: Gary Oldman
"Harry Potter" Role: Sirius Black
Gary Oldman first hit the big time with his riveting performance as ill-fated Sex Pistol Sid Vicious in "Sid and Nancy." Oldman lost so much weight for the part that he was briefly hospitalized. Yet all that effort paid off. Sex Pistol's front-man John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) -- who's not the easiest man in the world to please -- praised his performance.
Actor: Emma Thompson
"Harry Potter" Role: Sybill Trelawney
Though she might play Hogwart's teacher who could be uncharitably described as a dotty incompetent, Emma Thompson is anything but. She was signed to an agent in her second year at Cambridge. To date, she's the only person ever to win an Oscar for acting in one movie ("Howard's End," 1992) and for writing another ("Sense and Sensibility," 1995). And in 1994, she became one of only a handful of people to win two Academy Award nominations, one as Best Actress for "The Remains of the Day" and one for Best Supporting Actress for "In the Name of the Father."
Actor: Kenneth Branagh
"Harry Potter" Role: Gilderoy Lockhart
Branagh directed and starred in a series of Shakespeare adaptations for the big screen, from "Henry V" to "Hamlet," earning him scads of acclaim and awards. He's one of only nine people ever to get Oscar nominations in acting, writing, and directing. He is also noted for dating two other people on this list: Emma Thompson, whom he was married to from 1989 to 1995, and Helena Bonham Carter from 1994 to 1999. Most recently, he directed this summer's superhero spectacular "Thor."
Over the summer, billboards have started dotting the countryside reading, in dramatic lettering, "It All Ends!" They are not predicting a coming apocalypse but describing the end of an era. On July 15, the final "Harry Potter" movie will hit the silver screen. Much has been made of the young cast who grew up during production of the franchise's eight movies, but less attention has been paid to the staggeringly talented grown-up cast that has been assembled for the series. Click ahead and read about some of "Harry Potter's" supporting stars.
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