Robbie Coltrane, who played the lovable half-giant Rubeus Hagrid in the “Harry Potter” franchise, has died, his agency WME confirmed to Variety on Friday. He was 72.
Coltrane had featured in every single film in the Harry Potter series, beginning from the first one with its 2001 release. Since then, Hagrid has been a staple fan favourite of the franchise. He was among one of the first characters to appear on screen, and he recited the famous line, “Yer a wizard, Harry,” to a young Daniel Radcliffe as he embarked on his journey into the wizarding world. A towering figure but a complete softie at heart, The Scottish actor, comedian and writer also appeared in two James Bond films, 1995’s “GoldenEye” and 1999’s “The World Is Not Enough,” as the Russian mafia man Valentin Domitrovich Zukovsky.
One of Coltrane’s first major performances was part of a British sketch comedy series “Alfresco” in 1983. At the time, his co-stars included the likes of Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson and Stephen Fry, all of whom have gone on to become beacons in the industry. A few years later, he reunited with Thompson on the 1987 BBC Scotland drama “Tutti Frutti” and earned his first best actor nomination from the British Academy Television Awards.
The actor’s final performance was during the 20th Anniversary of Harry Potter which was released under the name “Return to Hogwarts” and premiered on HBO MAX earlier this year. His thoughts on the series’ power also served as a stirring farewell to fans. Casey Patterson, director and executive producer of the reunion, recalled that “Robbie was ailing when we were filming, aware of his mortality and fiercely determined to have that final, full circle experience with his beloved cast. He spent days back on the original sets in conversation with them all, we could feel him talking in the great hall, the war stories, the passage of time. He was deeply funny but equally raw and vulnerable…he looked straight down the barrel of the lens and in that knowing Hagrid way, shared with us all that he knew he was near the end and how proud he was of the legacy he would leave behind.”
Coltrane had stated, rather emotionally, that “the legacy of the movies is that my children’s generation will show them to their children. So you could be watching it in 50 years time, easily. I’ll not be here, sadly, but Hagrid will, yes.”
In memory of the beloved actor, titular character actor Daniel Radcliff paid tribute to his time spent with Coltrane on the Harry Potter set. “I’ve especially fond memories of him keeping our spirits up on ‘Prisoner of Azkaban,'” Radcliffe said. “When we were all hiding from the torrential rain for hours in Hagrid’s hut and he was telling stories and cracking jokes to keep morale.