Veteran character actor Robbie Coltrane, 72, has passed away. He was probably best known to moviegoers for his portrayal of Rubeus Hagrid in the Harry Potter films.
Coltrane’s parents were both professionals; on March 30, 1950, in Glasgow, Scotland, Anthony Robert McMillan entered the world as the son of a physician and an educator. When he finished at Glasgow’s Art School, he went to Edinburgh’s Moray House College of Education to pursue his interest in art further.
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Shortly after finishing his formal education, he moved to London to pursue a career in stand-up comedy, adopting the surname Coltrane in homage to the great jazz pianist John Coltrane. His first film credit is for 1980’s Flash Gordon; he has since appeared in several minor roles on British television shows like Blackadder, Keep It in the Family, A Kick Up the Eighties, and The Comic Strip.
Coltrane first gained widespread attention for his portrayal of forensic psychologist Dr. Edward “Fitz” Fitzgerald in the 1993–2006 TV series Cracker, which ran for a total of 25 episodes. While Pierce Brosnan played James Bond, he played the role of Valentin Domitrovich Zukovsky in two James Bond films during the 1990s: Goldeneye and The World Are Not Enough.
First seen in 2001’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, he played the role of Rubeus Hagrid, the Hogwarts gamekeeper who befriends Harry and takes him on his first tour of the school. There have been rumors that J.K. Rowling chose Coltrane specifically for the part. He reprised the role in all eight installments of the film series.
I’ll never know anyone remotely like Robbie again. He was an incredible talent, a complete one off, and I was beyond fortunate to know him, work with him and laugh my head off with him. I send my love and deepest condolences to his family, above all his children. pic.twitter.com/tzpln8hD9z
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) October 14, 2022
In addition to his three wins at the British Academy Television Awards for his performance in Cracker, he was nominated for a BAFTA for this role in 2001. In addition to being awarded the OBE in 2006, he also received an honorary BAFTA Scotland Award in 2011 for his work in the film industry.
Belinda Wright, his agent, released a statement (via the BBC) in which she praised Coltrane as a “unique talent” and said that his portrayal of Hagrid “brought joy to children and adults alike around the world.”
Stephen Fry, the actor’s longtime friend and fellow actor, tweeted about his death “Almost exactly 40 years ago, I had my first encounter with Robbie Coltrane. I was simultaneously amazed, terrified, and in love.
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.
Robbie Coltrane, Scottish entertainment legend – you will be hugely missed. RIP https://t.co/z9OCf4c83p
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) October 14, 2022
We made our first TV show, “Alfresco,” and the cast and crew had us in stitches with their depth, power, and talent. The time has come for you to go, old man. It’s impossible to put into words how much we’ll miss you.”
A clip from the recent Harry Potter reunion broadcast on HBO Max has been widely circulated, and fans have used it to express their admiration for the actor online. As quoted by Coltrane: “My kids are going to show them to their kids, and maybe you’ll be watching them in 50 years. Easy. Sorry, I won’t be able to make it. Hagrid, however, will.”
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