Robbie Coltrane, who has died aged 72, was a comic actor whose first success was playing Fitz, the clinical psychologist, in ITV’s Cracker, which ran for three full series from 1993 to 2005. 1995, and 10 years later, esp. Later, his role as Hagrid, the friendly giant of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films, catapulted him to international stardom and an army of young fans who worshiped the hero.
e was the first choice of Harry Potter author JK Rowling for the role, and he appeared in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) and all subsequent films in the series.
Having played many morally dubious characters, Coltrane delights in playing a “completely good man”. Fitz, meanwhile, is a fascinating mess of contradictions. Possessing a sharp, cold mind, he has terrifying insight into the human psyche. His understanding of criminal motives allows him to predict their actions and find their weaknesses with tireless targeting. Most episodes culminate with a bright Cracker bullying a sick, tearful man into admitting his sexual weakness.
Jimmy McGovern, writer of Cracker, originally envisioned Fitz as a small, nimble man; when the first series was made, Coltrane was a pale-faced 20 stone, with a 56-inch waist. In theory, he has little of the usual star charisma, but has proven to be a perfect draw – a brooding presence with a gripping cynical edge and a fondness for malevolent monologues. Women find Fitz attractive because he’s not the “new man,” doesn’t have a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and because he’s too focused on the flaws of other male characters, who are mostly weak and foolish by comparison.
Coltrane is a fat guy who likes to pretend he doesn’t have a screaming skinny guy inside of him. Mass is important to him, an integral part of his loud, belligerent personality. Roly-poly in his youth, he put on serious weight in the 1980s at a rate like a rock each year. He drinks like a fish, is addicted to cigarettes and has a weakness for curry.
The son of a doctor and social worker, he was born Anthony Robert McMillan in Glasgow on 31 March 1950, and was educated at the posh Glenalmond boarding school in Perth, where he recalls being being bullied, beaten and distressed and “doesn’t accept the hierarchy”. Nicknamed Fat Rabb, he started making people laugh to make his own life more bearable. He has a gift for imitation and can speak in a variety of voices, raising his voice in any way. He decided to join and took the stage name Coltrane after the saxophonist John Coltrane. His first major stage appearance was in John Byrne’s . Slab Boys trilogy in 1978, and he later had a series of cameos in films and on television.
In the mid-1980s, he began working with Comic Strip and joined a team of successful alternative comedians that included Ben Elton, Stephen Fry, John Sessions, Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson. He has done several Comic Strip movies, prominent among them Strikea satire about Hollywood and working-class stereotypes.
He also had great success as Danny McGlone, a failed Glasian rocker on John Byrne’s television series. Tutti Frutti. Coltrane shows that he has a rare gift of taking a script, its content and turning it into an impromptu invention, delivered with the mindset of a talented actor but at a time of brilliant comics. sharp.
From then on he worked non-stop. Among his film roles is Falstaff in Kenneth Branagh’s version of Henry Vand he’s loved by Hollywood, where Steven Spielberg is a huge fan.
For years he flirted with Robin Paine, an art student, but in his 40s he settled into family life with Rhona Gemmell, a sculptor 20 years his junior. The success of Cracker, the Bafta award won for him, also calmed him down. For years making a living posing as a mindless yob, he’s finally found a role that allows him to showcase his wits without losing face.
He married Gemmel in 1999. They had a son and a daughter, but later separated. Coltrane, who was appointed OBE in 2006, includes his other interests in drawing, sailing, piano playing, fishing, ships, and debating (“usually together”). His children survived him.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/television/tv-news/obituary-robbie-coltrane-actor-best-known-as-psychologist-in-cracker-and-hagrid-in-harry-potter-42069534.html Obituary: Robbie Coltrane, actor known for playing psychologist in ‘Cracker’ and Hagrid in ‘Harry Potter’