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Harry Potter actor Robbie Coltrane dies aged 72

Harry Potter Reunion Robbie Coltrane
Harry Potter actor Robbie Coltrane dies aged 72 Credit: (Video Screenshot) Living Man / YouTube

Harry Potter film Actor Robbie Coltrane, who featured in the film as Hagrid, died at the age of 72 in a hospital near Falkirk in Scotland. His agent Belinda Wright confirmed the news in a statement this Friday.

Wright described Coltrane as a “unique talent”, adding his role as Hagrid “brought joy to children and adults alike all over the world”.

“For me personally I shall remember him as an abidingly loyal client. As well as being a wonderful actor, he was forensically intelligent, brilliantly witty and after 40 years of being proud to be called his agent, I shall miss him.”

“He is survived by his sister Annie Rae, his children Spencer and Alice and their mother Rhona Gemmell. They would like to thank the medical staff at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert for their care and diplomacy,”

“Please respect Robbie’s family’s privacy at this distressing time.” She noted.

Besides his role in the Harry Potter film, Coltrane also appeared in ITV detective drama Cracker and the James Bond films Goldeneye and The World Is Not Enough.

Fellow Harry Potter stars pay tribute

Daniel Radcliffe. Credit: David Dj Johnson. CC-BY-3.0 / Wikimedia Commons

Coltrane’s fellow Harry Potter stars paid their respect to him including Daniel Radcliffe who in a statement, said, “Robbie was one of the funniest people I’ve met and used to keep us laughing constantly as kids on that set.

“I’ve especially fond memories of him keeping our spirits up on Prisoner of Azkaban, when we were all hiding from the torrential rain for hours in Hagrid’s hut and he was telling stories and cracking jokes to keep morale up.

“I feel incredibly lucky that I got to meet and work with him and very sad that he’s passed. He was an incredible actor and a lovely man.”

Fellow Harry Potter star Emma Watson said: “Robbie, if I ever get to be so kind as you were to me on a film set I promise I’ll do it in your name and memory.”

She paid tribute to Coltrane on Instagram saying there was “no better Hagrid” and he “made it a joy to be Hermione”.

“I’ll really miss your sweetness, your nicknames, your warmth, your laughs and your hugs.”

Harry Potter author JK Rowling, while writing on Twitter described Coltrane as an “incredible talent” and “a complete one-off”.

Other personalities pay their respect

Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry. Credit: Stephen Fry_Freedom Fry. CC-BY-SA-3.0/Wikimedia Commons

Stephen Fry an actor who appeared alongside Coltrane in the Alfresco movie tweeted saying, “Such depth, power and talent: funny enough to cause helpless hiccups and honking as we made our first TV show Alfresco. Farewell, old fellow, you’ll be so dreadfully missed.”

Blackadder star Tony Robinson described Coltrane as “such a sweet man… so talented as a comic and as a straight actor”. Posting on Twitter about his favourite episode from the period sitcom, he said: “It was all down to you mate.”

Also, Hugh Laurie Coltrane’s fellow Alfesco actor, who also starred alongside Coltrane in Blackadder, recalled their time spent sharing car rides between Manchester and London. “I don’t think I’ve ever laughed or learned so much in my life”, he tweeted.

The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon described Coltrane’s death as “very sad news”.

“He had such range and depth as an actor, from brilliant comedy to hard-edged drama. I think my favourite of all his roles was Fitz in Cracker,” she said. “Robbie Coltrane, Scottish entertainment legend – you will be hugely missed. RIP.”

The official James Bond Twitter account referred to Coltrane as an “exceptional actor whose talent knew no bounds”.

English writer and radio presenter Rev. Richard Coles added, “Very sorry to hear Robbie Coltrane has died. We shared a dressing room once and he had the biggest pants I have ever seen, which he wore with tremendous flair. We were friends from then on.”

Coltrane’s life and career

Robbie Coltrane
Robbie Coltrane. Credit: Clogdancer. CC-BY-SA-2.0/Wikimedia

Robbie Coltrane, the Scottish star, whose real name is Anthony Robert McMillan, was born in Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire, in 1950.

Coltrane was the son of teacher and pianist Jean Ross and GP Ian Baxter McMillan. As a youth,  he studied at the iindependent school Glenalmond College in Perth and Kinross.

The actor’s career began in 1979 in the TV series Play for Today. He came to prominence however in A Kick Up the Eighties, a BBC TV comedy series, also starring Tracey Ullman, Miriam Margolyes and Rik Mayall.

He also appeared in the 1983 ITV comedy Alfresco, with Fry, Emma Thompson, Siobhan Redmond and Hugh Laurie.

By 1987 he had a leading role in Tutti Frutti, about Scottish rock and roll band The Majestic. The film also starred Emma Thompson and Richard Wilson. The year before, he was in the British crime film Mona Lisa with the world-renowned thespian Bob Hoskins.

Coltrane gained further fame starring as criminal psychologist Dr Eddie “Fitz” Fitzgerald in the ITV series Cracker from 1993 to 1995 and in a special return episode in 2006.

His role in the ITV series Cracker secured him the Bafta award for best actor for three consecutive years from 1994 to 1996.

Best known for role in Harry Potter film

Coltrane’s role in the Harry Potter film series is arguably his outstanding as he starred in all eight movies as Rubeus Hagrid alongside Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson.

However, in 2016, he starred in the Bafta-winning Channel 4 drama National Treasure, with Dame Julie Walters, about a comic and TV host accused of sexual abuse of women.

Late last year, he appeared in the Harry Potter reunion TV special. It was a special production which reunited the cast, although JK Rowling was absent and featured only in archive video clips.

Coltrane appeared alongside Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, along with Helena Bonham Carter, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman and Ralph Fiennes.

The Harry Potter star had the honour of obtaining the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2006 New Year’s honours list for his services to drama. He also received the Bafta Scotland Award for outstanding contribution to film in 2011.

May his memory be eternal always!

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