British actor Robbie Coltrane, the half-giant Hagrid from the Harry Potter saga, has died aged 72.

British actor Robbie Coltrane, known worldwide for his role as the half-giant Hagrid in the Harry Potter films, died on Friday at the age of 72, announced his agent, Belinda Wright.

Robbie Coltrane, real name Anthony Robert McMillan, died at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbret, Scotland, Ms Wright said.

The Scottish-born actor was adored by children around the world for his portrayal of the kindly, clumsy, bushy-bearded half-giant Rubeus Hagrid, who helps young wizard Harry Potter and his friends in their adventures at school Hogwarts wizards.

In reality, he was 1.86m tall, but for the purposes of the film, special effects and special effects gave the impression that he was much taller. With his long hair and his smile, Hagrid was, for many, a gentle and reassuring figure.

“Hagrid, for me, both in the books and in the films, is the emblem of the ‘safespace’ among the protagonists of Harry Potter. His house, a little on the edge of the school, is often a refuge, a place of confidences, to vent all kinds of problems, » recalls Montreal writer and teacher Victor Bégin, who grew up reading the books of the Harry Potter saga.

Victor Bégin also celebrated the wedding, a few years ago, of his friend Roxanne Bédard-Daraîche, another great fan of the series, so much so that her wedding was organized and decorated under the theme of Harry Potter. .

She is in mourning today. « Every teenager needs a Hagrid in their life! » It is a challenge to transmit this benevolence, this gentleness and this complicity on the screen. Yet just looking at Robbie Coltrane in his suit, you instantly think he’s managed to bring Hagrid to life. His presence is gentle and protective, we can see that he has understood the nature of the character,” maintains Roxanne Bédard-Daraîche.

A career beyond Harry Potter

Robbie Coltrane rose to prominence in the mid-1990s for his role as Doctor Eddie « Fitz » Fitzgerald, a psychologist assisting Manchester police in the British crime drama Cracking.

In the 1990s, he had also played in two films of the James Bond saga (The world is not enough and GoldenEye), playing a Russian mobster and ex-KGB agent.

“Robbie had a unique talent, sharing with Michael Gambon (who was also part of the Harry Potter saga, playing Professor Dumbledore) a record for winning three consecutive Best Actor BAFTAs” for his role in the series Crackingin 1994, 1995 and 1996, recalled his agent.

“He was smart, brilliantly witty and after 40 years of being his agent, I will miss him,” she added.

“He was an incredible talent, a unique case, and I had the chance to know him, to work with him and to laugh out loud with him”, meanwhile affirmed JK Rowling on Twitter, the author from the Harry Potter book series.

Ties with the Quebec film industry

Robbie Coltrane rubbed shoulders with personalities from the Quebec artistic community, including director Yves Simoneau, who offered him one of the main roles in his film Perfectly Normal (1990). The British actor played Alonzo Turner, an eccentric character who arrives in a quiet little town in Ontario and decides to invest in an Italian restaurant.

“Robbie was larger than life on every level. A wonderful actor with a great sense of humor. For the team, he liked to sing Sinatra between takes. His death saddens me, ”wrote Yves Simoneau, contacted by The duty.

Canadian admirers of Robbie Coltrane will therefore remember him for roles other than Harry Potter’s half-giant. “Robbie Coltrane will remain in my heart for more than his role as Hagrid. He had a gift for phlegm (very British), but he could play comedy superbly, as well as drama, ”says Matthieu Roy-Décarie, an editor who has worked on several films by Yves Simoneau.

“I find that people have lacked imagination by ‘casting’ him in roles solely related to his physique (a bit like Ernest Borgnine, in another era). I would have loved to see him in a counter job. He could be sweet and kind,” he added.

This sweetness has also permeated the last television appearance of the actor. In a special program presented by HBO Max for the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter, he underlined the timelessness of the Harry Potter saga in a moving way: « The great legacy of [cette série], is that my children will show it to their children, so you could listen to it in 50 years. Unfortunately, I won’t be here anymore, but Hagrid will stay. »

With Agence France-Presse.

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