Hugh Laurie among stars remembering ‘exceptional’ Robbie Coltrane

·7-min read

Hugh Laurie and the James Bond producers are among the stars of film and TV who have paid tribute to the “exceptional” Robbie Coltrane following his death aged 72.

The Scottish actor starred in a number of classic British franchises and shows during his career including 007, Blackadder and Harry Potter, where he starred as the beloved Hogwarts gamekeeper Rubeus Hagrid.

An outpouring of messages and fond memories were shared on social media following the news from his agent of 40 years, Belinda Wright, announcing that Coltrane had died on Friday.

Quantum Of Solace World Premiere – London
Robbie Coltrane (Zak Hussein/PA)

Laurie, who acted alongside Coltrane in the period sitcom Blackadder and in the sketch series Alfresco, recalled fond memories of his time with the actor.

“I hope it’s OK to spout memories: I used to ride with Robbie Coltrane between Manchester and London in his sort-of-restored MGA,” Laurie tweeted.

“I’d roll him cigarettes while he discoursed on the ways of the world, and I don’t think I’ve ever laughed or learned so much in my life.”

Fellow Blackadder star Tony Robinson described him as “such a sweet man” and “so talented as a comic and as a straight actor”.

He added in a post to Twitter: “‘Dictionary’ was my favourite episode of the Adder ever and it was all down to you mate. Rest well x”

Among Coltrane’s plethora of starring roles was an appearance in the Bond films GoldenEye and The World Is Not Enough as KGB man Valentin Zukovsky alongside Pierce Brosnan’s 007.

The franchise’s long-term producers, Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, described the actor’s death as a “tragic loss to the world”.

In a joint post to Twitter, they added: “He was an exceptional actor whose talent knew no bounds.

“He was beloved to Bond audiences as Valentin Zukovsky in GOLDENEYE and THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH as well as to millions who saw him in his multitude of roles.

“We shall miss him as a dear friend. Rest in peace Robbie.”

Harry Potter stars were also among those who remembered their time with Coltrane fondly.

Tom Felton, who starred as Draco Malfoy in the fantasy series, described Coltrane as a “big friendly giant” as he recalled shooting a scene with him during the first film.

“One of my fondest memories of filming Harry Potter was a night shoot on the first film in the forbidden forest,” Felton tweeted.

“I was 12. Robbie cared & looked after everyone around of him. Effortlessly. And made them laugh. Effortlessly.

“He was a big friendly giant on screen but even more so In real life. Love you mate – thank you for everything xx”

Matthew Lewis, who played Neville Longbottom in the fantasy series, described Coltrane as “a giant, in more ways than one”.

“Robbie. Bobser. He called me Space Boy. We shared a love of the final frontier,” Lewis wrote in a post on Twitter.

“He didn’t give a f*** and it always made you smile. A giant, in more ways than one. We had some times x”

Bonnie Wright, who played Ginny Weasley, said she was “heartbroken” by the news of Coltrane’s death.

She added in her post to Twitter: “Hagrid was my favourite character! Robbie portrayed Hagrid’s warmth, sense of home & unconditional love for his students and magical creatures so brilliantly.

“Thanks for all the laughter. Miss you Robbie. Sending love to your family.”

James Phelps, who starred as her brother Fred Weasley in the films, recalled his first memory of the actor while paying tribute.

“I will miss the random chats about all subjects under the sun,” Phelps tweeted.

“And I’ll never forget in September 2000, Robbie Coltrane came over to a very nervous 14yr old me on my 1st ever day on a movie set and said ‘Enjoy it, you’ll be great’. Thank you for that.”

His twin brother Oliver, who played opposite him as George Weasley, recalled a sweet memory from their Harry Potter premiere in London in 2001 where Coltrane told them: “Soak this in lads, its like a Rolls-Royce for your first car’!”

Phelps added: “Over the years we had some great chats about history and travel. Rest in peace Robbie x”

Sir Lenny Henry, who voiced Dre Head in Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, tweeted: “This is awful news. Rob was the real thing. Condolences to his family. Big love big fella xxx”

Professor Flitwick actor Warwick Davis said he was “saddened” by the news, adding: “Always jovial, he brought warmth, light and laughter to any set he walked on to. RIP Robbie, Beloved Giant of comedy.x”

The official Twitter account for the Harry Potter films also described Coltrane as a “wonderful actor”.

Sharing a photo of him dressed as the beloved Hagrid to Twitter, they wrote: “We are hugely saddened to hear of the passing of the magnificent Robbie Coltrane who played Hagrid with such kindness, heart and humour in the Harry Potter films.

“He was a wonderful actor, a friend to all and he will be deeply missed.”

Hollywood star Mark Ruffalo also said he had an “amazing time” working with Coltrane on the 2008 film The Brothers Bloom.

Glasgow School of Art’s creative network manager, Sam de Santis, also paid tribute to the “much-loved” Coltrane, who attended the art school as a young actor.

In a statement, he said: ““We are all saddened to hear the news of the death of Robbie Coltrane. He is a much-loved GSA alumnus who will be missed by us all.

“Whilst internationally known for his acting career Robbie embodied the way in which studying at an art school opens up myriad opportunities to realise creative potential.

“Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”

Coltrane was also known for his roles as criminal psychologist Dr Eddie “Fitz” Fitzgerald in ITV’s crime drama Cracker.

The role secured him the Bafta award for best actor for three consecutive years from 1994 to 1996.

The official Twitter account for Bafta also reflected on his award-winning career, tweeting: “We’re devastated to hear of the death of Robbie Coltrane, an actor of outstanding talents who won two BAFTA Scotland Awards for achievement in film and three consecutive BAFTAs for his performances in Cracker. Our thoughts are with his family.”

He also starred alongside Laurie, Stephen Fry and Dame Emma Thompson in the sketch series Alfresco in 1983 to 1984, and reunited with Dame Emma for the BBC miniseries Tutti Frutti where he played Big Jazza, for which he received his first Bafta nomination.