Harry Potter Star Tom Felton Pays Tribute to Hagrid Actor Robbie Coltrane

Last fall, veteran film and TV star Robbie Coltrane, best known for his role as Hagrid in the Harry Potter franchise, passed away at 72. Coltrane, a comedian who also appeared in 25 stories as part of the British detective series Cracker, first came to the Potter franchise when the kids involved were between 10 and 13 years old. As one might imagine, that made him a key part of their childhood, and as such, star Tom Felton recently joined E! News to pen a heartfelt tribute to Coltrane.

Coltrane spent the last 20 years of his life in a wheelchair due to severe osteoarthritis pain, and appeared only seated during January's Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts on HBO Max. In that special, Coltrane reflected on the power of storytelling, and his own mortality. He teared up as he told the crew, "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 year's time, easily. I'll not be here, sadly -- but Hagrid will, yes."

"His knowledge of the world was astounding," Felton wrote in part. "He was well-versed in any topic you might care to mention, from engineering to geography, from history to travel-and that meant he had something to contribute to any grown-up conversation that might be happening on set. You could tell that the older actors valued and respected his experience.

"We kids, though, didn't have much time for that stuff. We just wanted to be, well, kids-mischievous, impish and high-spirited. But so did Robbie. He had more mischief in him than a common room full of Slytherins. He could fool around with the best of us. He might have had the mind of an adult, but he truly had the heart of a child."

You can read the full tribute here.

Prior to Harry Potter, Coltrane had a memorable role as Valentin Dmitrovich Zukovsky in the James Bond films GoldenEye and The World Is Not Enough. In addition to his big-screen work, Coltrane was a comedian and writer who starred in 25 stories over 13 years as the cantankerous but brilliant police consultant Dr. Edward 'Fitz' Fitzgerald on the British detective series Cracker. He earned three consecutive BAFTA best actor trophies for the series.

Coltrane's film career started in 1980, and he almost immediately found himself in the genre space with a minor role in Flash Gordon. He became more recongizable a few years later playing various roles on U.K. sketch shows like A Kick Up the EightiesAlfresco, and Laugh??? I Nearly Paid My Licence Fee.

In 1987 and 1988, Coltrane scored (unrelated) roles in two different Blackadder specials, including the Spirit of Christmas in Blackadder's Christmas Carol

Coltraine continued to work regularly on TV and in film for years before becoming globally known in the James Bond and Harry Potter roles. Shortly after Harry Potter, he scored a small part in the Frasier finale, putting him in front of millions of Americans without his Hagrid get-up the same year he played Matsui in Ocean's Twelve. Along the way, he appeared in a number of notable projects, including a role in the Alan Moore/Eddie Campbell adaptation From Hell and playing Mr. Hyde in the 2004 Van Helsing movie.

After appearing in all eight Harry Potter movies, Coltrane was a beloved figure for audiences and respected by critics. In 2019, he reprised the role of Hagrid in the short film Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.