The actor was best known for playing the Hogwarts gamekeeper Hagrid in the fantasy series and a criminal psychologist in ITV’s crime drama Cracker.
14 October 2022
Daniel Radcliffe has remembered his Harry Potter co-star Robbie Coltrane as “one of the funniest people” and an “incredible actor” following his death aged 72.
The Scottish star, whose real name is Anthony Robert McMillan, was best known for playing the beloved Hogwarts gamekeeper Rubeus Hagrid in the fantasy series and starring as criminal psychologist Dr Eddie “Fitz” Fitzgerald in ITV’s crime drama Cracker.
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”.
Radcliffe, who starred as the titular wizard in the Harry Potter films, shared fond memories from their time on set together as he paid tribute to Coltrane.
In a statement shared to the PA news agency, he said: “Robbie was one of the funniest people I’ve met and used to keep us laughing constantly as kids on the set.
“I’ve especially fond memories of him keeping our spirits up on Prisoner Of Azkaban, 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 up.
“I feel incredibly lucky that I got to meet and work with him and very sad that he’s passed. He was an incredible actor and a lovely man.”
Harry Potter author JK Rowling shared a photo of them together on Twitter as she paid tribute to the “incredible” actor.
Emma Watson, best known for her role as Hermione Granger, said Coltrane made the cast a family.
“Robbie was like the most fun uncle I’ve ever had but most of all he was deeply caring, and compassionate towards me as a child and an adult,” Watson wrote on her Instagram story with a picture of the two of them.
“His talent was so immense it made sense he played a giant – he could fill ANY space with his brilliance.
“Robbie, if I ever get to be so kind as you were to me on a film set I promise I’ll do it in your name and memory.
“Know how much I adore and admire you. I’ll really miss your sweetness, your nicknames, your warmth, your laughs and your hugs. You made us a family. Know you were that to us.
“There was no better Hagrid. You made it a joy to be Hermione.”
She wrote: “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 role in all eight of the Harry Potter film series arguably became his best known.
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 20s.
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.
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.
In a statement, his agent Belinda Wright said: “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.
“James Bond fans write too to applaud his role in GoldenEye and The World Is Not Enough.
“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.”
Fry praised the “depth, power and talent” of his Alfresco co-star as he paid tribute to him on Twitter.
He said: “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’.
“Farewell, old fellow. You’ll be so dreadfully missed.”
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.