“There’s no Hogwarts without you, Hagrid.” The story goes that for Harry Potter creator JK Rowlingthere was no one better suited to portray gamekeeper and Keeper of Keys and Grounds of Hogwarts than Robbie Coltrane and that he was her top choice to play Hagrid from the start. The rest, they say, is history, as the veteran Scottish-born actor went on to play Harry Potter’s pal in all 8 movies in the iconic franchise. Sadly, Robbie passed away on October 14, 2022, as confirmed by The News84Media, after a long battle with an undisclosed illness.
Fans around the world will remember him best in the iconic role, and that was something Robbie admitted he was most proud of in the Harry Potter 20th anniversary special. “The legacy of these movies is that my children’s generation will show them to their children,” he said with tears in his eyes. “So, you could be watching them in 50 years time, easy. I’ll not be here, sadly… But Hagrid will.” In the special, it was clear just how close he had gotten to the cast of the films. He shared a special moment particularly with Emma Watson, who played Hermione, as they reflected on her growing up on-screen. She also lamented that the beloved actor was poised to cause more “mischief” than any of the child actors, with Rupert Grint chiming in that he was “Such a kid.”
After the news of his passing, many of Robbie’s Potter co-stars were quick to pay tribute to their friend whom they loved so dearly, just as many had done when other Potter icons have passed away recently.
In the Harry Potter story, Hagrid is the first person to tell the young boy from Privet Drive that he’s a wizard. Perhaps then it makes sense that one of the first stars to honor Robbie was the man behind the Boy Who Lived, Daniel Radcliffe. “Robbie was one of the funniest people I’ve met and used to keep us laughing constantly as kids on the set,” his statement reads, via Variety. “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. I feel incredibly lucky that I got to meet and work with him and very sad that he’s passed. He was an incredible actor and a lovely man.”
I’ll never know anyone remotely like Robbie again. He was an incredible talent, a complete one off, and I was beyond fortunate to know him, work with him and laugh my head off with him. I send my love and deepest condolences to his family, above all his children. pic.twitter.com/tzpln8hD9z
— JK Rowling (@jk_rowling) October 14, 2022
The author of the Harry Potter books took to her Twitter shortly after hearing the news to pay tribute to the man who brought one of her most beloved characters to life on the big screen. Share shared an intimate, never-before-seen photo of them together at an elegant affair, dressed in there best. “I’ll never know anyone remotely like Robbie again,” she wrote in the caption. “He was an incredible talent, a complete one off, and I was beyond fortunate to know him, work with him and laugh my head off with him. I send my love and deepest condolences to his family, above all his children.”
Robbie. Bobser. He called me Space Boy. We shared a love of the final frontier. He didn’t give a fuck and it always made you smile. A giant, in more ways than one. We had some times x
— 🇺🇦Matthew Lewis🇺🇦 (@Mattdavelewis) October 14, 2022
Playing fellow Gryffindor Neville Longbottom, Matthew Lewis spent a lot of time alongside Robbie, especially in the first two films. The actor looked back at the moments he spent with his ‘giant’ friend Twitter, saying, “He called me Space Boy. We shared a love of the final frontier. He didn’t give a fuck and it always made you smile. A giant, in more ways than one. We had some times.”
Bonnie Wright was only 9-years-old when she first stepped into the role as Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter movies. It would take until her character enrolled in Hogwarts in The Chamber Of Secrets for Bonnie to get the chance to work with Robbie, but the experience left an unmistakeable mark on her life. In her tribute to him on Instagram, the star shared her grief but also her thanks to the kind man who would look after the young stars in the movies. “Heartbroken by the passing of Robbie Coltrane,” she wrote. “Hagrid was my favorite character! Robbie portrayed Hagrid’s warmth, sense of home and unconditional love for his students and magical creatures so brilliantly. Robbie always treated me and my fellow cast mates when we were wee kids like equal professionals on a film set. A type of attitude that instilled confidence and a sense of togetherness. Thanks for all the laughs. Miss you Robbie. Sending love to your family. Rest In Peace”
Oliver & James Phelps
I will miss the random chats about all subjects under the sun. 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 x
— James Phelps (@James_Phelps) October 14, 2022
From day 1 on movie 1, James Phelps played one half the prankster Weasley twins. As Fred, James was able to spend a lot of time with Robbie, especially in the first two movies. In his tribute on his Twitter page, to not only share his love for the actor, but to remember the sage advice he gave him on the day they started filming the first Harry Potter movie. “I will miss the random chats about all subjects under the sun,” James wrote. “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.”
November 2001 – Leicester Square, London. “Soak this in lads, its like a Rolls-Royce for your first car”! Robbie Coleraine when he was next to me on the red carpet of the first HP premiere. Over the years we had some great chats about history and travel. Rest in peace Robbie x
— Oliver Phelps (@OliverPhelps) October 14, 2022
Soon after James’ brother Oliver, who played George Weasley posted his own tribute to Robbie, hoping that his friend and mentor would rest in peace.
David Thewlis who portrayed Remus Lupine in the Harry Potter films, was quick to remember his friend for all the joy he brought to the set of the films. On his Instagram, he posted a loving tribute to his fellow Order of the Phoenix member. “The richest, mightiest and most mischievous laughter on set was all big Robbie’s fault. You are forever loved, dear man, and will be sorely missed.”
I first met Robbie Coltrane almost exactly 40 years ago. I was awe/terror/love struck all at the same time. Such depth, power & talent: funny enough to cause helpless hiccups & honking as we did our first TV show, “Alfresco”. Farewell, old fellow. You’ll be so terribly missed
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) October 14, 2022
Although the English actor was never in the Harry Potter films, Stephen Fry is one of the few who can say they’ve “played” Hagrid alongside Robbie. Stephen narrated the UK editions of the Harry Potter audiobooks and also narrated three installments of the Harry Potter video games. Shortly after the announcement of Robbie’s death, Stephen took to his Twitter to celebrate his friend who co-starred in the show Alfesco.