RICHARD E Grant paid tribute to his Withnail and I co-star Richard Griffiths by sending a wreath of root vegetables to his funeral – a reference to their roles in the cult comedy.
Stars including Daniel Radcliffe, Michael Palin and Alan Bennett were among 400 mourners at the funeral at the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon yesterday.
Grant’s wreath included several large carrots – a reference to the scene in the cult film where Griffiths’ eccentric Uncle Monty tells the two main characters of his love of root vegetables insisting: “I think the carrot infinitely more fascinating than the geranium. The carrot has mystery. Flowers are essentially tarts. Prostitutes for the bees. There is a certain je ne sais quoi – oh, so very special - about a firm, young carrot.”
Dame Judi Dench sent a more traditional floral tribute – a single rose.
The actor, who appeared as Uncle Vernon Dursley in the Harry Potter films, died last month from complications following heart surgery.
Downton Abbey star Penelope Wilton read from Edward Lear’s The Owl and the Pussycat and his three sons also spoke at the service in the church where William Shakespeare was baptised and buried.
His agent Simon Beresford said: “It was a sad day but there were also lots of smiles and laughs. It was a wonderful celebration of Richard’s life.”
Griffiths’ death at the age of 65 followed a stellar career which drew him plaudits on both sides of the Atlantic.
Alongside his Harry Potter role, he was best known for the part of inspirational teacher Hector in Bennett’s The History Boys – which earned him an Olivier and a Tony award – and for Uncle Monty.