Robbie Coltrane, the actor who brought to life the lovable gamekeeper Hagrid in the Harry Potter film franchise, died on Friday, according to his agent, Scott Henderson. He was 72.
The Scottish-born actor’s other credits included the British series Cracker and James Bond films GoldenEye and The World Is Not Enough.
No details on the cause of death were immediately provided.
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Before Coltrane shot to international fame playing the bearded Hagrid, he was honed his comedic skills on the theatre stage.
In the ’80s, he appeared in a short-lived sketch series called Alfresco alongside powerhouses Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry and Emma Thompson.
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On Friday, Fry honored his former co-star in a statement posted to Twitter.
“I first met Robbie Coltrane almost exactly 40 years ago. I was awe/terror/love struck all at the same time. Such depth, power & talent: funny enough to cause helpless hiccups & honking as we made our first TV show, ‘Alfresco,'” he wrote. “Farewell, old fellow”.
Coltrane reunited with Thompson on the six-part drama series Tutti Frutti, for which he earned his first best actor British Academy Television Award nomination.
His first win would be for the television series Cracker in the ’90s. That series, a crime drama, ran for three seasons from 1993-95, with two subsequent specials.
The role of Hagrid, a half-giant, half-human character, was a natural one for Coltrane. He knew and loved the books because he read them to his children, he recalled in one interview.
“If you’re an actor, you have to do the voices. The children expect it. No monotones allowed,” he joked.
But it was his performance, which brought heart and humanity to the role — a literal gentle half-giant — that stuck with audiences.
Appearing in the HBO Max special Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, Coltrane recalled his time on the films and Hagrid’s impact.
“Everybody in the world would like a really big, huge, strong, good man on their side, simple as that. That’s the attraction of Superman and these things,” he said.
“Hagrid was always obviously the good guy, wasn’t he?”
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