When actors who embodied our favorite characters pass away, it feels as though we lose multiple people. It’s as if those fictional roles become all the more important, showcasing the talent that one person possessed and preserving their essence in the present day for generations to come.
Scottish actor Robbie Coltrane, best known for his role as Hagrid, the gentle giant groundskeeper in the Harry Potter series, passed away at age 72 on Friday, October 14. It was a sad day for his family, colleagues and fans alike, yet many of them came forth to reminisce about the good times they had with Robbie and the lessons they learned from him.
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Robbie’s statement during the 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts special hit everyone right in the feels once the news came out: “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, easy. I’ll not be here, sadly, but Hagrid will, yes.”
Today, dear Pandas, we have collected only a small portion of all the tributes that have poured in for the memorable actor. Make sure to upvote your favorite ones, and leave your own thoughts on Robbie and his colorful roles in the comments below.
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Robbie Coltrane, one of Britain’s most popular comedians, passed away at the age of 72. Not only was he incredible as Hagrid in the Harry Potter series, but he showed off his natural talents in films and series such as GoldenEye, The World Is Not Enough, Brave, Cracker, and Mona Lisa. But outside of his cinematic achievements, people seem to remember him as a kind and gentle soul.
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Let’s have a small look at the actor’s colorful life. Robbie was born on March 30, 1950, in Rutherglen, a suburb of Glasgow, Scotland, UK. Growing up, he was fond of art, music, films and cars, and at the age of 12 he made his acting debut at Glenalmond College, delivering rants from Henry V. At that time, he was fascinated with Marlon Brando and Orson Welles.
He attended Glasgow Art School, majoring in drawing, painting and film, and then studied art at Edinburgh’s Moray House College of Education for a year. In 1973, Anthony Robert McMillan took the name Robbie Coltrane, due to his love of jazz, and began a career as a stand-up comedian at night clubs, at the Edinburgh Festival, as well as an actor with Edinburgh’s renowned Traverse Theater.
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In 1980, Robbie made his big screen debut as a limousine driver in Death Watch. In 1981, he appeared in his first leading role as Detective Fritz Langley in Subway Riders. His career took off during the early 1990s with a leading role as Dr. Eddie “Fitz” Fitzgerald, a forensic psychologist in the popular TV series, Cracker.
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Then Robbie hit another jackpot; he was personally selected by J.K. Rowling as her choice to play half-giant Rubeus Hagrid in the Harry Potter films. The role would stick in the minds of millions, making it hard for fans to separate the two.
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Although his cause of death has not yet been announced, the star had previously opened up about his health struggles. Speaking to Daily Star back in 2016, the actor revealed he was in constant pain due to osteoarthritis.
He said: “I’m in constant pain all day. I had an exploratory operation and they discovered I had no cartilage left in one of my knees. It’s completely disintegrated. And they told me it’s osteoarthritis.” Although doctors do not typically consider this to be life threatening, a significant number of people will die as a consequence of the condition, due to lower levels of mobility and physical activity.
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His agent Belinda Wright said in a statement: “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.”
“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,” she continued.
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The heartbreaking news caused an outpouring of love from Robbie’s fellow actors, as well as from fans and public figures, many of whom recounted their fondest memories of the star.
Daniel Radcliffe, who played the orphaned wizard Harry Potter, gave a heartwarming statement on the actor’s passing, praising him for his incredible sense of humor and for encouraging everyone through the darkest of times. The two actors starred together in all eight Harry Potter movies, from Sorcerer’s Stone in 2001 to Deathly Hallows – Part 2 in 2011.
“Robbie was one of the funniest people I’ve met and used to keep us laughing constantly as kids on the set,” Daniel said. “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.”
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Similar accounts came from Emma Watson, who starred as Hermione Granger, Bonnie Wright, who played Ginny Weasley, and Tom Felton, the nemesis of Harry Potter, Draco Malfoy. “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,” Emma said in an Instagram Story. “You made us a family. Know you were that to us.”
The controversy-ridden author J.K. Rowling honored the actor with a post on Twitter, calling Robbie “an incredible talent, a complete one off,” whom she was incredibly lucky to work with.
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Alongside the Harry Potter cast were other fellow actors, such as Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and Tony Robinson, who shared their memories and love for the actor. Even Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described Coltrane’s death as “very sad news.” “He had such range and depth as an actor, from brilliant comedy to hard-edged drama. I think my favorite of all his roles was Fitz in Cracker,” she said. “Robbie Coltrane, Scottish entertainment legend – you will be hugely missed. RIP.”
Many fans joined in, one person saying: “Thank you Robbie Coltrane for leaving us with Hagrid forever, you were a treasure.” Another added: “Robbie Coltrane nailed the character of Hagrid, I always read the character from the book in his voice. Ahh I’m gonna miss him bro.”
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We hope Robbie passed peacefully and that he can rest easy knowing that he will remain in the hearts of millions. We should all respect the family’s privacy at this time. The classic Harry Potter quote very much resonates today and will for a very long time to come: “There is no Hogwarts without you, Hagrid.”
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