Actor SIR Ian McKellen refused to take over Richard Harris' role of Professor Dumbledore in the Harry Potter film franchise - because his portrayal of wizard Gandalf in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy is far superior to the Hogwarts character. The 68-year-old also admits he turned down the opportunity because replacing Harris would have been unsuitable, since the late actor publicly defamed MCKellen's acting ability shortly before his death in 2002. MCKellen says, "People say to me, 'Don't you wish you'd played Dumbledore?' I say no! I played Gandalf! The original. "There was a question as to whether I might take over from Richard Harris but seeing as one of the last things he did publicly was say what a dreadful actor he thought I was, it would not have been appropriate for me to take over his part. It would have been unfair." Sir Michael Gambon took over Harris' role as Dumbledore in 2004's Prisoner of Azkaban and has continued to portray the character since.