Harry Potter Star Robbie Coltrane Dies

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Fans raise their wands in remembrance of Robbie Coltrane Credit: WDW News Today

Megan Wang, Photojournalist

Beloved Scottish actor Robbie Coltrane, best known for his roles as Hagrid in the Harry Potter Franchise and Valentin Dmitrovich Zukovsky in the James Bond films, has died on October 14, 2022. Coltrane’s death was confirmed by his agent, Belinda Wright. She released the statement that the actor had been “unwell for some time,” according to New York Times. 

Robbie Coltranealso, also known as Anthony Robert Mcmillan, was born on March 30th, 1950, in Rutherglen, Scotland,. His parents were Jean Ross, a teacher, and pianist and father Ian Baxer McMillian, a general surgeon who also worked for the police pathology department in Glasgow Scotland UK. He attended the Glasgow school of arts and majored in drawing, film, and painting, but unfortunately, painting his ideas on a canvas did not come as quickly to him as acting on a big screen. “I wanted to paint like the painters who really moved me, who made me want to weep about humanity…But I looked at my diploma show and felt a terrible disappointment…”stated Coltrane in a Titan Rembrandt in 2015, according to the New York times. 

He then turned to acting and adapted his stage name as Robbie Coltrane, based on legendary saxophonist John Coltrane. He started to perform as a stand-up comedian while trying to pick up starter roles. 

It wasn’t until his significant breakout role when he starred as Dr. Edward “Fitz” Fitzgerald in Jimmy McGovern’s Cracker series that he became known. Due to his performance, Coltrane earned him three consecutive  BAFTA awards for best TV actor, according to Billboard.  “Long known primarily as a comic actor in films…Mr. Coltrane has accomplished the extraordinary feat of making the almost insufferable Fitz oddly lovable.”Following his breakout role, he then went on to star in  James Bond Films, where he played  Russian mafia leader Valentin Zukovsky in  “GoldenEye” (1995) and “The World Is Not Enough” (1999). 

Coltrane had starred in over 44 films, but perhaps the role that made his name a household name was Hagrid, the loveable, fierce, and sweet 8 foot 6 “muggle-giant.” His character appeared in all eight films, starting from the first film “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, to the last film “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.” Coltrane’s role in the franchise then earned him “streams of fan letters every week for over 20 years” according to the New York Times 

His co-stars took to social media to remember the late actor by looking back on fond memories with him on set. Among many other co-stars, a statement provided by a representative Daniel Radcliff’, stated how “Coltrane was one of the funniest people I’ve met…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,” according to CNN. Another actor that took to social media to remember the late actor was Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger. “Robbie was the most fun uncle I’ve ever had…His talent was so immense it made sense he played a giant – he could fill ANY space with his brilliance,” stated Watson  in a post on her Instagram story, as mentioned on CNN. 

Coltrane has impacted many lives for the better, bringing joy to many. Robbie Coltrane is survived by his sister, Annie Rae, and the mother of his children and their mother, Rhona Gemmel, along with his children, Spencer and Alice. Coltrane was “a big friendly giant on screen but even more so In real life,” stated Tom Felton on Instagram, as shown on CNN.

“I saw on Instagram on Friday morning that Robbie Coltrane died. He was the perfect person to play Hagrid. Even through the screen, you felt as though the friendly father figure…I never thought he would be gone so soon! Rest in Peace, Robbie Coltrane.”

— Reese Gutierrez (10)

Many will miss him, but  his presence and legacy will not be gone. According to VanityFair.com, “The legacy of the movies is that my children’s generation will show them to their children,” he said. “So you could be watching it in 50 years time, easily. I’ll not be here, sadly, but Hagrid will, yes,” stated Coltrane in the Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts on January 1, 2022.