The Gentle Giant


Rachel Dickerson, Reporter

On October 14, 2022, Robbie Coltrane passed away due to unknown causes at the age of 72. He passed in Larbert, Scotland surrounded by his friends and family. 

Coltrane grew up on the outskirts of Glasgow and attended the Glasgow School of Art. He initially intended on becoming an artist, although, his hopes dimmed as he continued his schooling. He turned to acting after encouragement from his drama teacher and landed his first part in the play, “The Dumb Waiter.”

“Mr. Coltrane was born Anthony Robert McMillan on March 30, 1950, in Rutherglen, Scotland, outside Glasgow. His father, Ian Baxter McMillan, was a doctor; his mother, Jean Ross Howie, was a teacher,” New York Times said. 

Coltrane was known for his role as Rubeus Hagrid in the infamous “Harry Potter” movie series, successfully playing the eight-foot tall half-giant. Fans instantly loved his character in the first installment, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”. Not only did fans around the world love his portrayal of the half-giant, but Coltrane also expressed the importance of it in the few interviews he gave. 

“He received a stream of fan letters every week for over 20 years,” Coltrane’s agent of 40 years, Belinda Wright said. 

Coltrane loved the impact the character had on fans worldwide, and was more than happy to know that he had done the character justice when bringing him to life on the big screen.

Kids come up to you and they go, ‘Would you like to sign my book?’ with those big doe-eyes. And it’s a serious responsibility,” Coltrane said. 

But Coltrane was more than that. 

Coltrane played a variety of diverse roles in different genres over the course of 40 years. He starred in the hit British crime television show “Cracker” which soon turned into a cult classic. Coltrane again showed his variety when he starred in a comedy titled, “Nuns on the Run.” 

Coltrane soon gained footing after changing his name and moving to London where he did stand-up comedy while also auditioning for roles. He gained small parts in television shows and smaller movies, slowly but surely making a name for himself in the business. 

While his other works are great, nothing quite compares to the role of Rubeus Hagrid to the eyes of many young readers. 

“[Coltrane] used to keep us laughing constantly as kids,” Harry Potter co-star, Daniel Radcliffe said.

Robbie Coltrane’s legacy revolves around the beloved character being brought to life and his constant kindness shown to his castmates and young fans throughout the years. He loved his role as Hagrid, and what it meant for children for generations to come.

“The legacy of the movies is that my children’s generation will show them to their children. So you could be watching it in 50 years’ time, easy. I’ll not be here, sadly, but Hagrid will, yes,” Coltrane said.