Robbie Coltrane, the baby-faced comedian and actor whose hundreds of roles include a crime-solving psychologist in the TV series “Cracker” and the gentle half-giant Hagrid in the “Harry Potter” movies, has passed away. He was 72.
Coltrane’s agent Belinda Wright said he died Friday in a hospital in his native Scotland, but did not immediately provide other details. She called him “forensically intelligent” and “brilliantly witty” in just one of many tributes to him.
“Harry Potter” author JK Rowling, who had said decades ago that Coltrane was her first choice to play Hagrid, tweeted Friday that he was “an incredible talent, a complete talent”.
“I was lucky enough to know him, work with him and laugh at him,” she wrote.
Born Anthony Robert McMillan in Rutherglen, Scotland, Coltrane was in his early twenties when he began pursuing an acting career and renamed himself in honor of jazz musician John Coltrane.
He already had a notable film career, with credits such as ‘Mona Lisa’, ‘Nuns on the Run’ and Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of ‘Henry V’ when he single-handedly broke through as a tough-as-nails detective in the TV series Cracker. the 1990s for which he won Best Actor at the British Academy Television Awards three years in a row.
He went on to appear in all eight “Harry Potter” films as the young wizard’s mentor and had a wide variety of other roles, including a Russian crime boss in the James Bond thrillers “GoldenEye” and “The World is Not Enough” and Pip’s guardian Mr. Jaggers in a 2012 adaptation of Dickens’ Great Expectations. More recently, he received critical acclaim for playing a much-loved TV star who may be harboring a dark secret in the 2016 miniseries “National Treasure.”
On Friday, his “Nuns on the Run” co-star Eric Idle tweeted that he had mentioned Coltrane “wondering where he was” when he learned of his death.
“Such a bright and brilliant man. A perfect actor, an extremely funny comedian and a great actor. He was also a very good friend,” Idle wrote.
Wright said Coltrane is survived by his sister Annie Rae, his ex-wife Rhona Gemmell and his children Spencer and Alice.