Robbie Coltrane – the Scottish actor who became beloved by legions of children the world over for his role as Hagrid in the Harry Potter movies – has passed away aged 72. Coltrane was also known for the highly critically-acclaimed British detective series Cracker. Coltrane’s agent confirmed his passing to Deadline.
Coltrane got his start on several popular British comedy series, including The Young Ones and Blackadder. He worked with Lenny Henry, French and Saunders and in ‘The Comic Strip Presents’. He also had roles in 1980s British movies Caravaggio, Absolute Beginners, and Mona Lisa. In 1990 he starred in comedy movie Nuns on the Run, and played Bond villain Valentin Zukovsky in GoldenEye and The World is not Enough.
In Jimmy McGovern’s Cracker, Coltrane played an alcoholic and chain-smoking criminal psychologist. He was constantly swearing, sarcastic, and abrasive – but of course, was brilliant at his job. Along with Helen Mirren’s Prime Suspect, its hard-hitting storylines revolutionised how British audiences viewed crime and the police. There was only five years between Cracker ending and Coltrane being cast as the loveable Rubeus Hagrid in the Harry Potter series, demonstrating Coltrane’s range.
Coltrane’s last role was as Orson Welles in Urban Myths in 2020. He had reportedly been in ill health for the last two years. During his time as Hagrid, Coltrane still had time for supporting roles in many popular movies including Van Helsing, Ocean’s Twelve and Stormbreaker. He also provided voices for animated movies Arthur Christmas, Brave, and most notably – The Gruffalo.
Hagrid the Giant is the groundskeeper and gamekeeper at Hogwarts. He brings the baby Harry Potter to the Dursleys, and rescues him from them when he reaches age 11 and helps deliver him to Hogwarts. He remains a loyal friend to Harry, Ron, and Hermione throughout their time at the school, and they make frequent visits to his hut which is on the edge of the Forbidden Forest.
Coltrane brings a warm West Country accent and lovely bumbling demeanour to Hagrid, who frequently says things he shouldn’t. A highlight for Hagrid is when a French giantess, played by Frances de la Tour, visits Hogwarts. Many of the most tear-jerking moments in the film series involve Coltrane’s Hagrid, and some of the most famous lines such as; “yer a wizard Harry!”
Check out our guide to the best Harry Potter characters.