British actor Anthony Robert McMillan went by the stage name Robbie Coltrane and was born on March 30, 1950 in Scotland. From 1999 to 2003 he was married to the artist Rhona Gemmell. He died on October 14, 2022.
Robbie Coltrane: health and diseases
Coltrane was a character actor of stature. In the role of Fitzgerald, a drunkard, Coltrane was able to convince also because he himself was addicted to alcohol. The addiction determined his everyday life for many years, until he made a move to a clinic in Mexico in 1986. Since then, he had lived alcohol-free, but the many years of alcohol abuse had already severely damaged his organs.
Coltrane suffered from diabetes mellitus and obesity. In a 2020 interview, he spoke of also suffering from osteoarthritis and that he was even wheelchair-bound at times. The death certificate listed multiple organ failure as the cause of death. The doctors diagnosed a respiratory infection, blood poisoning and a heart block.
Already a few months before his death, the actor had to cancel a stage appearance due to health problems. Fans worldwide, especially Harry Potter fans, but also his colleagues at the time were deeply affected by his death.
Robbie Coltrane: Actor in demand
As Rubeus Hagrid, Coltrane gained worldwide fame in the Harry Potter adaptations. He appeared in all eight Harry Potter films. The sympathetic role as Harry’s mentor and gamekeeper at Hogwarts was tailor-made for him. Coltrane played a half-giant here, but in reality he was „only“ 1.85 m tall. Therefore, he was doubled a few times by the two-meter tall former rugby player Martin Christopher. The effect of height was also achieved with the help of optical illusions. For example, Hagrid’s hut was built in two versions: In the larger one, everything appears oversized; in the smaller one, Hagrid appears all the larger.
Even before Harry Potter, Coltrane was a sought-after stage, screen and TV actor in Great Britain. But it was the role as the bearded gamekeeper Hagrid that brought him his international breakthrough. He portrayed his stage and film characters with impressive presence. He was one of the great character actors in Great Britain.
Coltrane was also in demand in Hollywood. For example, he had a leading role in the James Bond films „GoldenEye“ and „The World Is Not Enough“ with Pierce Brosan as Agent 007. In both Bond films, Coltrane portrayed the shady gangster boss and former KGB agent Valentin Zukovsky. Characters that do not fit into the usual templates were his great strength. In the crime series „Für alle Fälle Fitz“ (1993-2006), he took on the role of criminal psychologist Dr. Eddie Fitzgerald. His stirring, authentic portrayal of Fitzgerald, an excessive drinker, gambler and brooding man who investigates gruesome murders and puts his marriage on the line, was a media sensation.
In the series „National Treasure“ Coltrane played character Paul Finchley. In the series „Urban Myths“ he embodied the legendary actor and director Orson Welles – this was his last role.
In the literary adaptation „Great Expectations“ based on Dickens (2012), he embodied the benefactor and lawyer Mr. Jaggers. Coltrane could also be seen on theater stages, but his love was primarily film and television.
Even in the year of his death, Coltrane appeared in the special „Return To Hogwarts“ together with colleagues from that time. The special was released to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter film series. Coltrane was awarded numerous prizes for his acting performances.