Scottish actor, comedian and writer 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 night. He was 72.
Coltrane featured in every ‘Harry Potter’ movie, from ‘Sorcerer’s Stone’ in 2001 to ‘Deathly Hallows Part 2’ in 2011, and was much beloved for bringing the character from J.K. Rowling’s book series to life.
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 softie at heart, notes ‘Variety’, Hagrid had a sweet spot for ferocious beasts. He cared for some of the ‘Harry Potter’ world’s most ferocious, and iconic, creatures.
Under his care were Buckbeak the hippogriff, Fang the boarhound, Fluffy the three-headed dog, Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback dragon, Aragog the massive talking spider, and the eerily majestic Thestrals.
In a heart-warming tribute to Coltrane, Daniel Radcliffe 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.
“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.”
Coltrane will forever be known to millions as Hagrid in the ‘Harry Potter’ movies, but he was also a member of the James Bond franchise, having appeared in 1995’s ‘Golden Eye’ and 1999’s ‘The World Is Not Enough’.
Most recently, Coltrane returned to his ‘Harry Potter’ roots and appeared in HBO Max’s 20th anniversary ‘Return to Hogwarts’ reunion special along with Radcliffe and other stars, notably Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, adds ‘Variety’.
“The legacy of the movies is that my children’s generation will show them to their children,” Coltrane said in the reunion special. “So you could be watching it in 50 years’ time. I’ll not be here, sadly, but Hagrid will, yes.”
Controversial ‘Harry Potter’ author J.K. Rowling separately honoured Coltrane with a post 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.”