PROFILE
Name:
Robbie Coltrane
Birth Date:
March 30, 1950
Birth Place:
Rutherglen, Scotland, UK
Nationality:
British
Famous for:
His role as Dr. Eddie 'Fitz' Fitzgerald on TV series Cracker (1993)
BIOGRAPHY
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Harry Potter's Hagrid

Background:

“My kids love it. I thought I was the coolest dad in the world when I got to be in a Bond film, but Harry Potter, too? Well, I think I qualify for a medal for exceptional parenting or something, don't you?” Robbie Coltrane (about his children's thoughts on seeing him in “Harry Potter” and “James Bond” films)

British prolific and respected actor Robbie Coltrane first gained notice in his native country as the titular criminal psychologist, Eddie "Fitz" Fitzgerald, in the ITV internationally acclaimed and hugely popular crime/drama series "Cracker" (1993-1996). He would receive international recognition as the giant and loyal grounds keeper, Rubeus Hagrid, in the Harry Potter film adaptations of JK. Rowling's bestselling novels, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (2001), "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" (2002), "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" (2004), "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" (2005) and "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" (2007). The accomplished comedian and comic actor has also delivered a number of dramatic parts and was seen as Valentin Dmitrovich Zukovsky, a Russian gangster and ex-KGB agent, in two James Bond films, "GoldenEye" (1995) and "The World Is Not Enough" (1999).

The stocky performer has starred in "Krull" (1983), "Caravaggio" (1986), "Mona Lisa" (1986), "Henry V" (1989), "Nuns on the Run" (1990), "The Pope Must Die" (1991), "The Adventures of Huck Finn" (1993), "Buddy" (1997), "From Hell" (2001), "Ocean's Twelve" (2004), "Provoked: A True Story" (2006) and "Stormbreaker" (2006). He will next be seen in the upcoming films "Gooby" (voice), "The Brothers Bloom," "The Tale of Despereaux" (voice), and "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," the next sequel to the popular Harry Potter series in which he will reprise his role as Hagrid.

One of the UK's most prolific and respected film and television actors with a career spanning 20 years, Coltrane was voted No. 10 in ITV's "TV's 50 Greatest Stars" and sixth in a poll of 2000 adults across the UK to find “The Most Famous Scot,” behind the Loch Ness Monster, Robert Burns, Sean Connery, Robert the Bruce and William Wallace. He was awarded the O.B.E. (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2006 New Year's Honours List for his services to drama.

"Once you've been doing anything for twenty-five years, people start to notice you. What was really nice about the OBE is that it's the first award where I didn't have to make a speech and I didn't have to sit there waiting to see if I'd won. I knew I was going to get it." Robbie Coltrane

On a more personal note, Coltrane was involved with Robin Paine (together from 1972 to 1987) before marrying Rhona Gemmell on December 11, 1999. He has one son and one daughter with her.


Vintage Car Collector

Childhood and Family:

Born in Rutherglen, Scotland, UK, on March 30, 1950, Anthony Robert McMillan, who would take the stage name Coltrane (in tribute to jazz saxophonist John Coltrane), grew up in a suburb of the Glasgow, Scotland, area. The middle child and only son of a teacher and pianist mother (Jean McMillan) and a physician and police surgeon father (Ian McMillan; died of lung cancer when Coltrane was in his teens), Coltrane has two sisters, Annie McMillan (older; an artist) and Jane McMillan (younger; died of an overdose at age 21 in 1976; was attending York University at the time).

The great-grandson of Scottish businessman Thomas W. Howie, Coltrane was educated at the world renowned Scottish boarding school, Glenalmond College, in Perthshire, Scotland. After visiting his older sister, he decided to attend art school. He studied drawing, painting and film at the Glasgow School of Art, in Glasgow, Scotland. He also studied art at Morays House College of Education, in Edinburgh, Scotland, for a year.

“Is it just me, or is the world full of beautiful women?” Robbie Coltrane

After splitting up with his long-time companion Robin Paine in 1987, Coltrane met his future wife, Rhona Gemmell (born in 1969), on Christmas Eve 1988. They began dating the following year and eventually married ten years later on December 11, 1999. They have two children, son Spencer Coltrane (born in 1993; named after Spencer Tracy; had a bit role in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone") and daughter Alice Coltrane (born in 1998). Coltrane is currently separated from Gemmell.

Coltrane lives in Stirlingshire and collects vintage cars. He was awarded the O.B.E. (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2006 New Year's Honours List for his services to drama.

“See, what you're meant to do when you have a mid-life crisis is buy a fast car, aren't you? Well, I've always had fast cars. It's not that. It's the fear that you're past your best. It's the fear that the stuff you've done in the past is your best work.” Robbie Coltrane


Cracker

Career:

Studying art at the Glasgow School of Art and Edinburgh's Morays House College of Education, Robbie Coltrane, who made his acting debut at age 12 in a school production of Shakespeare's "Henry V," gradually drifted to film and spent his early twenties acting with various theater companies. He also produced and directed the 50-minute documentary "Young Mental Health" (1973), which earned awards and critical notice, and eventually developed a nightclub act.

Coltrane finally landed his screen acting debut with a bit part as a limousine driver in director Bernard Tavernier's "Deathwatch" (1979; aka "Mort en direct, La"), which was based on a novel by David Compton. He followed it up with an appearance as a gay hairdresser in an episode of "Metal Mickey," a London Weekend Television series directed by Mickey Dolenz, and with a featured role as a detective hunting down a psychotic saxophone-playing killer, in Amos Poe's independent thriller, "Subway Riders" (1981).

In 1982, Coltrane first gained notice in Great Britain for his frequent appearances on the British comedy show "The Comic Strip Presents," which he also wrote and directed some sketches. He was featured in the long-running show until 1993, during which time he acted opposite Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry in Granada TV's sketch comedy show "Alfresco" (1983-1984) and teamed up with Ken Marshall, Lysette Anthony, and Liam Neeson in the Peter Yates' heroic fantasy film "Krull" (1983).

"I had lots of fun. I'd been broke for a long time, and suddenly I had money in the bank and was famous. It went to my head. It happens to everybody and I think it's short-lived, really. I had an adolescence from 1968 to 1988." Robbi Coltrane

Coltrane then co-starred with Adrian Edmondson and Dawn French in Peter Richardson's "The Supergrass" (1985), a crime comedy drawn from characters from "The Comic Strip Presents," and was cast as Scipione Borghese in Derek Jarman's fictionalized re-telling of the life of the Baroque painter, "Caravaggio" (1986; Nigel Terry in the title role). He also portrayed Bob Hoskins' friend in Neil Jordan's Academy Award-nominated independent thriller "Mona Lisa" (1986) and starred opposite Emma Thompson in the BBC Scotland six part musical drama series "Tutti Frutti" (1987; an edited version was released theatrically), which earned him a BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor.

On stage, Coltrane had a stage triumph in "Yr. Obedient Servant" (1987), a one-man show about Dr. Samuel Johnson. Afterward, he returned to television and co-wrote a sketch and made guest appearances on Emma Thompson's BBC variety series "Thompson" (1988; shown in the USA on PBS), as well as headlined the London Weekend Television program "The Robbie Coltrane Special" (1989). He also had a cameo role as Sir John Falstaff in Kenneth Branagh's film adaptation of William Shakespeare's play about the famous English King, "Henry V" (1989).

Entering the new decade, Coltrane co-starred with Eric Idle in writer/director Jonathan Lynn's comedy film "Nuns on the Run." The next year, he portrayed the title character of an honest parish priest in Peter Richardson's screen comedy "The Pope Must Die” (1991; aka “The Pope Must Diet"), starred in a TV commercial for the laundry detergent Persil, and received a Peter Sellers Award for Comedy from the Evening Standard British Film.

Coltrane supported Corey Haim and Barbara Williams in the straight-to-video released "Oh, What a Night" (1992) and was nominated for a Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role. Afterward, he starred in the British TV special "Coltrane in a Cadillac" (1993) and collaborated with Jason Robards in the Disney remake of Mark Twain's novel, "The Adventures of Huck Finn" (1993).

1993 also marked Coltrane's breakout year in British TV as he starred as criminal psychologist Eddie "Fitz" Fitzgerald, in ITV’s internationally acclaimed and hugely popular crime/drama series "Cracker." He stayed in the show until 1996 and won Best Actor awards from BAFTA TV (1994; 1995; 1996), the Royal Television Society (1994) and Best Actor and Broadcasting Press Guild (1994). The popular series was shown in the United States on A&E from 1994 to 1997.

Coltrane was also featured as Valentin Dmitrovich Zukovsky, a Russian gangster and ex-KGB agent whom James Bond (played by Pierce Brosnan) uses to arrange a meeting with Janus (played by Sean Bean), in the seventeenth spy film of the British James Bond series, "GoldenEye" (1995), which he reprised his role for the next 007 film, "The World Is Not Enough" (1999). He also headlined the British TV special "Coltrane's Planes and Automobiles" (1997) and portrayed the husband of an eccentric socialite (played by Rene Russo) in Caroline Thompson's film version of Gertrude Davies Lintz's book, "Buddy" (1997).

Coltrane wrapped up the decade by co-starring as Barbara Hershey's ex-husband in Amos Poe's quirky comedy/thriller movie "Frogs for Snakes" (1998) and starring as the down-on-his-luck ship captain in the A&E production of Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne's 1894 novel, "The Ebb-Tide" (1998). He was also cast as Ned Tweedledum to George Wendt's Tweedledee in the NBC made-for-television movie "Alice in Wonderland" (1999), which was based on the novel by Lewis Carroll.

2001 saw Coltrane as a Scottish detective named Peter Godley who aided a troubled clairvoyant police detective (played by Johnny Depp) in the Hughes Brothers' film adaptation of the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell, "From Hell." When asked how much he knew about Jack the Ripper before making the film, Coltrane revealed, "As much as most people, I guess, perhaps a bit more. It's fascinating how we are all still interested in it after all these years. People are always waiting for a document to turn up, a confession or something. It may yet happen, who knows?"

That same year, Coltrane won legions of new fans of all ages after portraying the giant and loyal grounds keeper Rubeus Hagrid, the friend of Harry Potter (played by Daniel Radcliffe), in the big screen version of the first novel of the best-selling fantasy series by J.K. Rowling, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." Personally selected by Rowling as her favorite choice to play Hagrid, Coltrane only took the role after his children urged him to do so.

On his son urging him to accept the role as Hagrid, Coltrane commented, “He made it quite clear that if I didn't play the role, I would be dead within a week. As you can imagine, the guy who turned down Hagrid would be like the guy who called the Beatles a guitar band. So I couldn't possibly refuse, really.”

Coltrane's performance in the blockbuster movie received general positive reviews. He was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor and a BAFTA Film Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role. About his being nominated at the BAFTAs, Coltrane said, "You never get blasé about people liking your work, and I'm in extremely good company. I shan't be winning it, but it was nice to be nominated. It's people in the business saying we think your work is up to the mark."

Coltrane would later reprise his Hagrid role in the successful sequels "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" (2002; nominated for Best Acting Ensemble at the Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards), "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" (2004), "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" (2005) and "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" (2007).

During this time, Coltrane was also cast as the Prime Minister in the spy film based on the first novel in the Alex Rider series, "Stormbreaker" (2006; starring Alex Pettyfer), and played Miranda Richardson's brother, a highly respected Queen's Counsel, in the fact-based film, "Provoked: A True Story" (2006; starring Aishwarya Rai). He was awarded the O.B.E. (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2006 New Year's Honours List for his services to drama and appeared as a guest conductor for the Grimethorpe Colliery Band at the Wakefield Theatre Royal in May 2007.

Coltrane is currently working on his upcoming film projects, "The Brothers Bloom," a crime/drama by writer/director Rian Johnson that stars Rachel Weisz and Adrien Brody, and "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," the next sequel to the popular Harry Potter series in which he will reprise his role as Hagrid. His voice will also be heard in Wilson Coneybeare's family movie "Gooby" and the animated film version of Kate DiCamillo's book, "The Tale of Despereaux."


Awards:

  • BAFTA TV: Best Actor, "Cracker," 1996

  • BAFTA TV: Best Actor, "Cracker," 1995

  • BAFTA TV: Best Actor, "Cracker," 1994

  • Royal Television Society (RTS): Best Actor - Male, "Cracker," 1994

  • Broadcasting Press Guild: Best Actor, "Cracker," 1994

  • Evening Standard British Film: Peter Sellers Award for Comedy, 1991

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