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Robbie Coltrane, who played Hagrid in the Harry Potter films, dies aged 72

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Robbie Coltrane

Scottish performer noted for taking on challenging parts who rose from the alternative comedy scene to become a major performer.

Robbie Coltrane

Robbie Coltrane

At the age of 72, actor Robbie Coltrane passed away. His playing career included roles in Bond flicks, Cracker, and Harry Potter.

His representative confirmed the information on Friday.

Anthony Robert McMillan was born in the affluent Glasgow neighborhood of Rutherglen, and before attending

the Glasgow School of Art, Coltrane had his education at the independent boarding school Glenalmond College,

whose brutal discipline he referred to as “legalized violence.” With deference to renowned jazz musician John

Coltrane, he adopted the stage name Coltrane and transitioned from live performance to live acting in radical

theater companies, including a company from San Quentin State Prison.

He appeared opposite Queenie Watts’ care-home escapee in Waterloo Sunset, a Play for Today film directed by

Richard Eyre and released in 1979. Later, his unique appearance and sheer height helped him stand out from the

crowd in small roles in movies and TV shows including Flash Gordon, Are You Being Served?, Krull, and Britannia Hospital.

Coltrane’s comedic talents started to take center stage when he achieved popularity in TV sketch shows like

Alfresco and A Kick Up the Eighties in the early 1980s. These firmly established him in the Ben Elton, Emma

Thompson, and Rik Mayall school of 1980s alternative comedy. His continued involvement in the Comic Strip

Presents movies, which included important works like Five Go Mad in Dorset, The Beat Generation, and The

Bullshitters further cemented this identity.

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However, Coltrane’s acting skills became more apparent, and in 1987 he enjoyed success with the Bafta-winning

TV series Tutti Frutti, written by John Byrne and about a failed Scottish rock’n’roll band. Coltrane found himself

increasingly in demand for larger roles in more high-profile projects, such as Falstaff in Kenneth Branagh’s

Henry V and a cardinal in Derek Jarman’s Caravaggio. Coltrane was elevated to leading man status and made a

name for himself in the US thanks to two comedic movies with a religious theme: Nuns on the Run and The Pope

Must Die.



Robbie Coltrane

Robbie Coltrane




Coltrane’s promotion was evidenced by his selection to play “Fitz” Fitzgerald, a criminal psychologist, in Jimmy

McGovern’s 1993 television series Cracker. Fitzgerald was a ground-breaking creation and a decidedly non-comic

part who was outstanding at his work but a wreck in his personal life. For the part, Coltrane received the Best TV

Actor Bafta in 1994, 1995, and 1996. Coltrane claimed to be a heavy drinker in the 1980s and continued to be

infamously confrontational, allegedly threatening to beat up Piers Morgan in a London restaurant. Fitzgerald’s

obsessive lifestyle likewise resembled the actor’s. In two Bond movies, GoldenEye and The World Are Not Enough, he was then cast as the morally dubious KGB spy Valentin Domitrovich Zukovsky.

Coltrane settled into a career in the middle of the century that alternated TV jobs with roles in opulent
Hollywood films (Message in a Bottle, From Hell, Ocean’s Twelve) (Alice in Wonderland, The Gruffalo). In the 1997 television series Coltrane’s Planes and Automobiles, he also indulged his passion for classic cars.
He was, however, at the top of the list for the role of Rubeus Hagrid, the caretaker of Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter film series, which he is claimed to have only accepted after his children pushed him to.


Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first book in the series, was published in 2001. It introduced Coltrane to a younger

audience and helped revitalize his career, especially on British TV. In David Pirie’s Murderland in 2009, he played the investigating

detective DI Hain. In the Channel 4 drama National Treasure, he received praise for his portrayal of a TV personality who is accused of

sexual abuse.

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On social media, tributes to the deceased actor started to flood in. He co-starred in the comedy series Alfresco alongside Stephen Fry,

who stated: “I first met Robbie Coltrane almost exactly 40 years ago. I simultaneously experienced amazement, dread, and love.

When we produced our first TV show, “Alfresco,” the depth, power, and talent of the cast caused helpless hiccups and honking. Goodbye,

elderly man. You will be terribly missed.

The author of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling, praised “an unbelievable gift.” Rowling said, “I’ll never know someone quite like

Robbie again,” and included a photo of the two. He was a unique individual, and I count myself incredibly lucky to have known him,

worked with him, and laughed uncontrollably with him.

In a tribute to Coltrane, Daniel Radcliffe, who played the title character in the movies, expressed pleasant memories of their time spent

working together. “Robbie was one of the funniest individuals I’ve encountered, and he used to keep us youngsters on the set cracking up

all the time,” he remarked.

“On Prisoner of Azkaban, when we were all hiding from the pouring rain for hours in Hagrid’s hut and he was telling stories and cracking

g jokes to keep morale high, I have especially cherished recollections of him keeping our spirits up.

I consider myself tremendously fortunate to have known him and worked with him, and I’m devastated by his passing. He was a

beautiful man and a fantastic actor.

Coltrane, according to Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland, “has such breadth and depth as an actor, from fantastic comedy to

hard-edged drama.”

Robbie Coltrane

Robbie Coltrane

Robert Lindsay, an actor, expressed his shock at the passing of his close friend Robbie Coltrane. We went on a Hollywood adventure

together, and I will never forget it. Another powerful star will shine in the heavens.

Coltrane wed the artist Rhona Gemmell in 1999; their marriage ended in divorce in 2003. They have two youngsters. The actor received

the Bafta Scotland Award for exceptional contribution to film in 2011 in addition to being granted an OBE in the 2006 New Year’s honors

list for his contributions to drama.

He made fewer film and television appearances in his later years, but he came back to participate in an interview for HBO’s Harry Potter

20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, when he discussed how his reputation as Hagrid will endure long beyond his death.

Belinda Wright, Coltrane’s agent of 40 years, hailed the medical personnel at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert, close to Falkirk, on

Friday for their “care and diplomacy.”

She said in a statement: “Robbie had a unique talent, sharing the Guinness Book of Records Award with Sir Michael Gambon for winning

three consecutive Best Actor Baftas for his portrayal of Fitz in Granada TV’s sitcom Cracker in 1994/1995/and 1996.

He will likely always be best known for his role as Hagrid in the Harry Potter movies. A job that delighted people of all ages around the

world resulted in a weekly trickle of fan letters for more than 20 years.

James Bond fans have also written to praise his performances in The World Is Not Enough and GoldenEye. In my own case, I will

remember him as a client who was unwaveringly loyal as well as a fantastic performer. He was also brilliantly humorous and after 40

years of being honored to be called his agent, I shall miss him.


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