albus dumbledore bio

Albus Dumbledore Bio

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Professor Albus Dumbledore, known as Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, was one of the greatest wizards ever, a professor for several subjects at Hogwarts, and later the headmaster. His other positions and titles included Supreme Mugwump for the International Confederation of Wizards and the position of Chief Warlock for the Wizengamot at the British Ministry of Magic. 

He lost his mother and father early and became the caretaker for his brother and sister. Shortly after that, his sister was killed, and he never learned whether it was at his hand, his brothers, or Grindelwald’s. As a result of these tragedies, he supported muggle rights most of his life and fought hard against people like Grindelwald and Lord Voldemort throughout the great Wizarding Wars. 

He was also the guide and mentor for Harry Potter throughout Harry’s time in Hogwarts, helping to fight Death Eaters and Lord Voldemort a second time. 

Quick Facts

Full NameAlbus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore
Birth Date1800s
Birth PlaceGreat Britain
Nick Name‘Professor’
Death Date [if applicable]1997
Age When Series StartsOver 100
Zodiac SignLeo
SiblingsAberforth, Ariana
Partner / SpouseNone
Most Memorable MomentHeadmaster of Hogwarts
Magical HeritageHalf Blood
Hogwarts HouseGryffindor 
WandOriginal, unknown
Elder wand, 15 inches, elder wood, thestral tail hair
Actors Who PlayedRichard Harris (films 1-2)

Michael Gambon (films 3-8)

Last UpdatedAugust 24, 2023

Dumbledore Birthplace

Dumbledore was born in Great Britain.

Parents and Early Life

Dumbledore was born to his mother, Kendra, and his father, Percival, in 1881. When he was young, a group of muggle boys witnessed his younger sister doing magic she couldn’t control, and it scared them so much that they attacked her. She was broken, traumatized by the event, and never able to properly do magic again.

Instead, that magic would turn inward on herself. The mental and emotional scarring meant that she would try to avoid magic entirely, but like pressure building inside an enclosed space, her magic would sometimes manifest in destructive and random ways. Dumbledore’s father, Percival, attacked all the Muggle boys in retaliation and was sent to Azkaban. He could have avoided Azkaban if he had explained what transpired, but he didn’t want his daughter to be taken away or subjected to any more experimentation or treatment.

After their father was sent to prison, his mother moved the children to Godric’s Hollow, the same town where Harry Potter was born. They live next door to Bathilda Bagshot, who, in an interview with Rita Skeeter later, explained that the mother never seemed to be very polite at first, and they avoided communication with anyone in the community. No one seemed to know why they also kept a daughter hidden from sight.

Eventually, the family became friends with Bathilda but no one else. 

Dumbledore and his brother attended hogwarts
Image from Fandom

Dumbledore and his brother attended Hogwarts. During that time, people who would eventually become Death Eaters or supporters of Lord Voldemort praised Dumbledore for his father’s actions, presuming that his father had decided to attack Muggles just because they were muggles. Albus Dumbledore set them straight with a single skirmish.

He was an excellent student, one of the best wizards of his era, and developed a close friendship with Elphias Doge. After winning several Awards and making notable friends, his grand tour of the world post-graduation was canceled when his sister had an uncontrollable magical outburst that killed his mother.

Dumbledore returned home to care for his brother and sister, where he met Gellert Grindelwald, developed a relationship, and eventually broke off that relationship a few months after his sister was killed. 

Fantastic Beasts

After the relationship broke off with Grindelwald, Grindelwald started to develop a dark wizard following from 1926 until 1945. During that time, he instigated the global wizarding war that attacked wizarding communities across Europe. 

Throughout this time, Albus Dumbledore monitored what was happening but never made any moves against him. It was revealed that they had made a pact when they were younger to never fight one another, and that pact prevented Dumbledore from going after Grindelwald. 

Around the end of 1926, Dumbledore was able to recruit other people like Newt Scamander, a former student, to help him combat the obscurial attacks that were taking place in New York, knowing that they were the doing of Grindelwald. This resulted in finding Credence Barebone but Grindelwald escaping. 

The pact Dumbledore and Grindelwald made was a blood pact, not easily broken. So once more, Dumbledore called on Newt Scamander, while Newt’s brothers, Theseus Scamander and Torquil Travers questioned Dumbledore about his refusal to fight Grindelwald. 

Dumbledore and Grindelwald
Image from Fandom

A few years later, Dumbledore went to London to meet with Grindelwald, discussing how they had been lovers in their youth, and this love was what caused Dumbledore to follow Grindelwald despite having reservations about his message. All the while, Dumbledore realized that he needed to find a way to break the blood pact. 

While gathering a new army, Dumbledore prepared for the walk of the Qilin, which was held in Bhutan and would elect the new Supreme Mugwump. Grindelwald had killed and resurrected a Qilin to trick it into electing him, but Dumbledore was able to stop the plan. The real Qilin picked Dumbledore to fill the position, but Dumbledore declined, and the honor went to Vicencia Santos. The killing curse Grindelwald launched in his outrage hit the vial that held the blood pact in place, freeing Dumbledore to fight. In the end, Grindelwald escaped once more. 

Physical Traits

In the books, Dumbledore is an old man, described as being tall and thin, with silver hair and a matching beard, though he had auburn hair when he was younger. His brother punched him in the nose during their sister Ariana’s funeral, so his nose was always crooked (although he could have easily remedied that with magic). 

When he is with Harry, he is often kind, with a twinkle or sparkle in his eyes, but when angry, his eyes are bright and terrifying, with an almost palpable aura of fury and power. 

Dumbledore’s Hogwarts Years

Throughout the time that Harry Potter attended Hogwarts, save for the final year when he was searching for Horcruxes, Dumbledore was the Headmaster and perhaps the best Headmaster the school had ever seen.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Image from Fandom

Harry Potter’s first interactions individually with Dumbledore took place when Harry stumbled upon the Mirror of Erised. At the time, there were signs that Lord Voldemort had obtained some form of non-corporeal or corporeal body and was regaining his strength. All of the teachers worked to combat his attempt to obtain the Philosopher’s Stone, a stone that would have given him immortality and was left in Dumbledore’s care by a close friend, Nicholas Flamel, the creator.

Each teacher contributed something to protect the entrance where the stone was safeguarded, and one of Dumbledore’s contributions was the mirror, which would show someone their deepest desires. In almost all cases, anyone who looked into that mirror would become fascinated with seeing their deepest desires and figuring out whether or not it was true, whether their day today compromised that future, and so forth. This would cause them to stand in front of the mirror until they wasted away.

But Harry Potter didn’t long for fame, recognition, or achievement. After secretly returning James Potter’s cloak to Harry, it was revealed that Harry just wanted his family. Dumbledore monitored his movements throughout the castle and helped him break free of the power of the mirror held over him by explaining exactly how it worked. Dumbledore was likely able to explain the deep workings of the mirror because he, himself, would very likely see his sister Ariana when he looked into it despite his claims that all he saw were socks. 

As is the case near the end of each book, Dumbledore does the necessary ministrations to keep Harry and his friends alive after battles with Voldemort or Death Eaters, and the first book sets that precedent. It is also Dumbledore who, in his office, always seems to explain things with just enough detail to keep Harry satisfied for the moment but never gives him the full story. We later learn that the reason behind this is that Dumbledore never thought Harry was quite old enough to be burdened with the truth of things.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

At the start of the second school year, Hogwarts came under attack. Students were being attacked in the corridors, animals, even ghosts. Albus Dumbledore had been a professor at Hogwarts the last time the Chamber of Secrets had been opened and was well acquainted with the signs leading up to the chamber opening and students disappearing. He was also unconvinced that Hagrid was responsible for it and knew that it was Tom Riddle, who would later renamed himself Lord Voldemort; it was actually behind the chamber.

Professor Dumbledore did what he could to protect the students at all costs and was there to extend that care to the staff members, including Hagrid, when the Ministry of Magic, along with Lucius Malfoy, Draco Malfoy’s father, came with orders to send Hagrid back to Azkaban person and to relieve Dumbledore of his command.

Thanks to Harry Potter, Dumbledore was able to confirm his suspicions about Horcruxes and inadvertently set Dobby, the house elf, free from Lucius Malfoy and quickly regain his position at the school.

At the end of this book and film, Harry shows genuine loyalty to Dumbledore and bravery, which is what he calls Fawkes, and the sword of Gryffindor to him when he is battling the basilisk. With these tools, he is able to defeat Voldemort and, without realizing it, destroy a Horcrux. Unfortunately, that defeat is only temporary.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

During this school year, a prisoner has escaped and is hunting down Harry Potter. Harry doesn’t know that until halfway through the year when he eats drops on some of the professors like Professor McGonagall, Cornelius Fudge, Rosmerta, and Hagrid.

It’s revealed near the end that they were wrong about Sirius Black, and it was really Peter Pettigrew who betrayed James Potter and Lily Potter to Lord Voldemort. In a quick effort to save Sirius Black and Buckbeak, who was scheduled for execution, Dumbledore calls upon Hermione Granger and Harry to use the time turners and to facilitate an escape for both. 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Throughout this book, Dumbledore is particularly worried because only a very skilled and dangerous person would have put Harry Potter’s name in the Goblet of Fire. Yet, Dumbledore is surprised and suspicious when Harry performs quite well in each task, knowing that something much more sinister is behind it. 

Near the end of this book, Dumbledore comes to Harry Potter’s rescue when Professor Moody or Mad-Eye Moody is found out to be a fake. Albus Dumbledore also makes the announcement in the Great Hall to all of the Hogwarts students that Lord Voldemort has returned, going solely off what Harry Potter said after his visit to the graveyard with the Dark Lord and the Death Eaters. 

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

For most of this school year, Dumbledore goes out of his way to avoid Harry Potter. This is something that causes a great deal of distress for Harry, who feels as though he’s being left out.

The book starts with dementors in Little Whinging attacking Harry and his cousin Dudley in the street. Using self-defense, Harry ends up triggering a full investigation by the Ministry of Magic for underage magic. Despite their best efforts to change things administratively so that Professor Dumbledore would miss the hearing, he showed up in the nick of time and saved Harry but wouldn’t make eye contact with him.

It turned out that throughout the year, knowing that Lord Voldemort was gaining strength and was able to begin peering into the mind of Harry Potter, Dumbledore was trying to protect Harry by distancing himself and not letting the dark lord believe that they had anything other than a traditional student-headmaster relationship. 

This proves that sometimes the things adults do out of the deepest and most genuine love for their children or those around them cause great pain to those same people they are trying to protect, but it has to be done anyway. Reading this as a child, I agreed with Harry Potter’s feelings,. Yet, as an adult, it breaks my heart because I know what it’s like to be in that position, protecting someone by withholding information or making them feel left out and knowing that one day when they are older, those children will come to appreciate what you did,. However, for now they might hate you a little.

Dumbledore spends a lot of this year trying to rally secret support against the Ministry until such time as the Ministry is willing to admit that Lord Voldemort has returned. At the same time, the Ministry relieved him of his position almost as soon as the school year started, replacing him with Dolores Umbridge, and sought to discredit him wherever they could.

The Battle of the Department of Mysteries

The Battle of the Department of Mysteries

After Harry Potter had a vision of Sirius Black being tortured in the Department of Mysteries, Albus Dumbledore was not on school grounds. Harry was desperate to find him, but he had been called away on important ministry business. It turns out that said business was a hoax, and it did not take Dumbledore long to turn up at the Department of Mysteries and engage in a final battle with Voldemort. 

This battle is the scene I reference frequently when people say there isn’t enough “actual science” behind the magic. While it may not have been depicted well in the films, in the books, this scene takes on elemental forces, where one party creates fire, then another defends by turning the fire into glass, then into water, and so on. These elemental changes speak to a higher level of wizarding skill and scientific understanding that I loved. 

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

This book, too, has a scene omitted from the films, which is an absolute shame: when Dumbledore goes to pick Harry up from his aunt and uncle’s house. The entire scene is full of quiet, soft laughter on my part as Dumbledore repeatedly reprimands the uncle and aunt for their poor manners, which is incendiary for them because of how they pride themselves on appearing to have good manners.

And, of course, any scene where Dudley is covering his butt for fear of yet another pig’s tail is outstanding.

Dumbledore is kind as he assists Harry with his first apparition and uses Harry to retrieve Professor Slughorn. But at no point does he force Harry to do or say things with which Harry would be uncomfortable. When Harry says that he’s not quite sure how he feels about Slughorn, Dumbledore acquiesces that this is probably a good instinct. He never speaks poorly of others, but he can still confirm poor suspicions of others tactfully and inspiringly.

This entire school year, Harry finds it odd that no matter when he tries to reach out, it seems like Dumbledore isn’t actually on campus. Minerva is often left in charge, and things go smoothly without the Headmaster present.

Harry was asked to take private lessons with Dumbledore, which only occurs whenever Dumbledore comes back to the school for a quick visit. It turns out that the year is spent hunting down Horcruxes as was the previous summer. The hunting down and destruction of Horcruxes led to Dumbledore’s cursed arm and subsequent impending death. 

After explaining all of this to Harry, he makes it clear that Harry Potter is allowed to come along on future searches for Horcruxes once Dumbledore locates them.

But during these lessons, he provides Harry with insight into Tom Riddle’s past by way of his mother and father, Merope and Tom Riddle Senior. I was touched by the moment Dumbledore asked if Harry might feel sorry for Voldemort, knowing that behind every bully is a story of loneliness and struggle. 

Battle of the Astronomy Tower

When Draco Malfoy lets Death Eaters into Hogwarts, Harry Potter and Dumbledore are out searching for another Horcrux. However, upon their return, Madame Rosmerta immediately alerts them as to the goings-on. With brooms, they rush to the astronomy tower, where Dumbledore is confronted by a frightened and angry Draco, who is attempting to kill Dumbledore, knowing that if he fails, he and his family will be punished. 

Dumbledore secures Harry’s safety with his last move, immobilizing him instead of disarming Draco. Moreover, with his last breath, despite taunts from the Death Eaters, Dumbledore begs Severus to kill him and not allow Draco forever to mark his soul with that kind of deed. 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Despite being dead, Dumbledore makes a surprising appearance throughout the last book and two films by way of the book Rita Skeeter publishes about him. The book reveals several aspects of his childhood, including information about his brother and sister, mother, father, and background relationship with Gellert Grindelwald.

The publication causes great dismay for Harry Potter, who, like most people too late in life, realizes they hardly know anything about the upbringing of those around them. We seem to think that adults start their lives at whatever age we meet them and forget that everyone older than us also has a past. The information in the book nonetheless provides keys to finding the rest of the Horcruxes and helping to defeat Voldemort.

But before that defeat, Dumbledore leaves his fingerprints on the lives of everyone, particularly Harry, Hermione, and Ron, by leaving artifacts to them in his will, further supporting the search for Horcruxes. Given the suspicions of the Ministry of Magic, the new Minister of Magic holds disseminating these items until the very last legal moment, which happens to be around Harry Potter’s birthday in the summer. He also fails to provide Harry with the sort of Gryffindor left to him by Dumbledore. However, it turns out that Dumbledore knew best, as he always did, because the sword would only work by coming to someone who displayed great valor.

Magical Abilities and Special Skills

Professor Dumbledore had an endless array of skills and was considered by many to be the most powerful wizard in the world. But despite his innate abilities and skills acquired through practice and schooling, his biggest skill was love.

This comes back repeatedly, especially when fighting Lord Voldemort or the dark lord, any of the death eaters, or advising on simple student matters. Given his background, this may not have been an innate skill as he was often burdened with having to stay home and care for his sister and brother when he could have instead used his genius. Only after his sister was killed and he fell out with his brother did he realize the value of true love and become the epitome of it.


We have yet to learn about the original wand Dumbledore received before attending Hogwarts himself. However, at some point, he found himself possessing the Elder Wand, made of elder wood with a thestral tail hair at its core. It was 15 inches, and the most powerful wand in existence, crafted by death himself.

Trivia and Fun Facts

  • Albus Dumbledore, or Professor Dumbledore, was originally played by the actor Richard Harris (films 1-2), but he passed away while filming and was recast with Michael Gambon (films 3-8), who completed the series. 

Dumbledore Appearances in Books 

Albus Dumbledore appears in the following books:

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone 
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (mention only)

Dumbledore Appearances in Films

Professor Dumbledore appears in the following films:

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone 
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (mention only)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

Dumbledore Quotes 

Dumbledore Quotes 

Description of Albus Dumbledore:

“He was tall, thin, and very old, judging by the silver of his hair and beard, which were both long enough to tuck into his belt. He was wearing long robes, a purple cloak that swept the ground, and high-heeled, buckled boots. His blue eyes were light, bright, and sparkling behind half-moon spectacles and his nose was very long and crooked, as though it had been broken at least twice.”

Dumbledore explaining the power of Harry’s mother’s death and the protection she left upon him after his first interaction with Lord Voldemort, or the Dark Lord:

“Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn’t realise that love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves its own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign… to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever. It is in your very skin. Quirrell, full of hatred, greed, and ambition, sharing his soul with Voldemort, could not touch you for this reason. It was agony to touch a person marked by something so good.” 

Always with sound information on life for his students, but especially Harry:

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

Dumbledore, explaining inadvertently to Hermione what she and Harry have to do in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban:

“Now, pay attention. Sirius is locked in Professor Flitwick’s office on the seventh floor. Thirteenth window from the right of the West Tower. If all goes well, you will be able to save more than one innocent life tonight. But remember this, both of you: you must not be seen. Miss Granger, you know the law — you know what is at stake… I am going to lock you in. It is — five minutes to midnight. Miss Granger, three turns should do it. Good luck.”

Dumbledore was known for his silly remarks and dry humor especially when it came to Feast time.

“He said, ‘Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts’. Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber!” 

Albus Dumbledore Bio: FAQs

Question: How old was Dumbledore when he died?

Answer: Rowling stated that Dumbledore was 150 when he died, though there is conflicting information about his date of birth corresponding to that figure. 

Question: Why was Dumbledore played by two actors?

Answer: Richard Harris played Dumbledore in the first two films but he passed away and the character was recast with Michael Gambon. 

Question: How is Dumbledore so powerful?

Answer: His power is owed to a combination of innate magical gifts, a great deal of learning while at school, and continuing education. 

Research Citations

IMDB. Harry Potter Full Cast.

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. New York: Scholastic, 1999. Print.

Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. New York: Scholastic, Inc., 2000.

Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, 1999.

Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic, 2002.

Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. New York: Listening Library, 2003.

Rowling, J. K. (2010). Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. London: Bloomsbury. Chicago (Author-Date, 15th ed.) Rowling, J. K. 2010.

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2007.

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