The recent death of Richard Harris was the occasion for much looking back. And for “Harry Potter” fans to look forward.
After all, the Irish actor’s last performance was as Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft. In that role, Harris offered a satisfying blend of benevolence, eccentricity and guarded power. And as any kid will tell you, he looked just right in those robes.
Harris’ final appearance in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” will be on movie screens starting Nov. 15. In the meantime, we’ve been thinking of his replacement.
Consider these possibilities, in alphabetical order:
JAMES COBURN, 74:
Pros: Looks good in a beard. Great voice (he’s the TV voice-over king).
Cons: His specialty is smirking cynicism with a dash of sadism. Can he do a kindly mentor?
SEAN CONNERY, 72:
Pros: As charismatic as ever. Could bring sly humor to the role.
Cons: Too much physical presence. After all, a sexy Dumbledore? Besides, Connery will eternally be associated with 007.
CLINT EASTWOOD, 72:
Pros: Harry Callahan does Harry Potter. Craggy features. A health nut – should be around for the next several “Harrys.”
Cons: Not a character actor. And he’d probably want to direct, too.
JUDI DENCH, 67:
Pros: If a woman can play Hamlet …
Cons: Small fry “Harry” audience may be too literal-minded to accept her.
IAN HOLM, 71:
Pros: A real actor, extremely versatile. Nice mischievous quality (he’s Bilbo in “Lord of the Rings”).
JAMES EARL JONES, 71:
Pros: The voice of CNN and Darth Vader. And Hogwarts could use some diversity.
Cons: Jones tends to overwhelm anyone else on screen.
IAN McKELLEN, 63:
Pros: A fine Shakespearean actor who can play anything. Comfy in beard and pointy hat.
Cons: May be weary of wizardry after “Lord of the Rings.”