Robbie Coltrane: 'Harry Potter' and 'Cracker' actor dies at 72

Death of the Scottish-born star confirmed by his agent

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Star of all eight Harry Potter films Robbie Coltrane has died at the age of 72.

The Scottish actor appeared in 1990s British crime drama Cracker, but was perhaps known best for playing the role of Hagrid in the Harry Potter series.

His agent of 40 years Belinda Wright said Coltrane died on Friday and thanked the medical staff at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert, near Falkirk in Scotland, for their “care and diplomacy”.

In a statement, Wright said: “My client and friend Robbie Coltrane OBE passed away on Friday, October 14. Robbie was a unique talent, sharing the Guinness Book of Records award for winning three consecutive Best Actor Baftas for his portrayal of Fitz in Granada TV’s series Cracker in 1994, 1995 and 1996 with Sir Michael Gambon.

“He will probably be best remembered for decades to come as Hagrid in the Harry Potter films, a role which brought joy to children and adults alike all over the world, prompting a stream of fan letters every week for over 20 years.

“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.”

Born in Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire, in 1950, Coltrane was the son of teacher and pianist Jean Ross and general practitioner Ian Baxter McMillan, and was educated at independent school Glenalmond College in Perth and Kinross.

He later attended Glasgow School of Art and Moray House College of Education in Edinburgh and moved into acting in his twenties.

He starred alongside Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry and Dame Emma Thompson in the sketch series Alfresco in 1983 to 1984, and reunited with Dame Emma for the BBC miniseries Tutti Frutti where he played Big Jazza, for which he received his first Bafta nomination.

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.

The role secured him the Bafta award for Best Actor for three consecutive years from 1994 to 1996.

He starred in all eight Harry Potter movies as Rubeus Hagrid alongside Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson.

Coltrane also featured in another classic British franchise when he played KGB man Valentin Zukovsky in Bond film Goldeneye in 1995 and revised the same character in The World Is Not Enough.

Fry praised the “depth, power and talent” of his Alfresco co-star as he paid tribute to him on Twitter.

Coltrane was made an OBE in the 2006 New Year’s honours list for his services to drama and he was awarded the Bafta Scotland Award for outstanding contribution to film in 2011.

The actor is survived by his sister Annie Rae, his children Spencer and Alice and their mother Rhona Gemmell.

Updated: October 15, 2022, 5:16 AM
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