Harry Potter actor Robbie Coltrane dies aged 72

14 October 2022 - 21:48
By Reuters
Actor Robbie Coltrane has died.
Image: Martin Grimes/Getty Images for Disney Actor Robbie Coltrane has died.

Robbie Coltrane, the larger-than-life Scottish actor who played Hagrid in the Harry Potter films, died on Friday at the age of 72, his agent said.

Coltrane's more than four-decade-long career ranged from roles in the James Bond films "GoldenEye" and "The World Is Not Enough", to the lead in the 1990s British TV series "Cracker", as criminal psychologist Dr. Edward 'Fitz' Fitzgerald.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling led the tributes on Twitter, writing: "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."

Coltrane's agent Belinda Wright called him a "unique talent" and said he had brought joy to children across the world playing the boy wizard's giant, monster-loving friend.

"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," she said in a statement.

Born Anthony Robert McMillan in Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire, the actor changed his name as a homage to celebrated jazz musician John Coltrane.

He played a string of key television roles before winning international fame, most notably alongside Emma Thompson in John Byrne's 1987 mini-series "Tutti Frutti". He played doomed lead singer Big Jazza McGlone in the tale of the fictional Scots rock 'n' roll band The Majestics.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her favourite of his roles was in the crime series "Cracker".

"Robbie Coltrane, Scottish entertainment legend - you will be hugely missed," she wrote.

British actor and broadcaster Stephen Fry - who narrated the British version of the Harry Potter audio books - wrote that he had met 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". Farewell, old fellow. You’ll be so dreadfully missed".

Coltrane died in hospital near Falkirk in Scotland, Britain's PA Media reported.

He is survived by his sister Annie Rae, his children Spencer and Alice and their mother Rhona Gemmell, his agent Wright said.