Robbie Coltrane

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Robbie Coltrane
Coltrane in April 2007
BornAnthony Robert McMillan
(1950-03-30) 30 March 1950 (age 64)
Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire, Scotland
OccupationActor, comedian and author
Years active1979–present
Spouse(s)Rhona Gemmell (December 1999–present)
ChildrenSpencer and Alice
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Robbie Coltrane
Coltrane in April 2007
BornAnthony Robert McMillan
(1950-03-30) 30 March 1950 (age 64)
Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire, Scotland
OccupationActor, comedian and author
Years active1979–present
Spouse(s)Rhona Gemmell (December 1999–present)
ChildrenSpencer and Alice

Robbie Coltrane, OBE (born Anthony Robert McMillan; 30 March 1950) is a Scottish actor, comedian and author. He is known for his roles as Rubeus Hagrid in the Harry Potter films, as Valentin Dmitrovich Zukovsky in the James Bond films GoldenEye and The World Is Not Enough and as Dr. Eddie "Fitz" Fitzgerald in the British TV series Cracker during the 1990s.

Early life and education[edit]

Coltrane was born Anthony Robert McMillan in Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire, Scotland, the son of Jean Ross (née Howie), a teacher and pianist, and Ian Baxter McMillan, a general practitioner who also served as a forensic police surgeon.[1][2][3] He has an older sister, Annie, and a younger sister, Jane. Coltrane is the great-grandson of Scottish businessman Thomas W. Howie and the nephew of businessman Forbes Howie.

He was educated at Glenalmond College, an independent school in Perthshire, from which he was nearly expelled after hanging the prefects' gowns from the school clocktower. Though he later described his experiences there as deeply unhappy, he played for the rugby First XV, was head of the school's debating society and won prizes for his art.[4] From Glenalmond, Coltrane went on to Glasgow School of Art, where he was ridiculed for "having an accent like Prince Charles" (which he quickly disposed of, though not before gaining the nickname "Lord Fauntleroy"), and thereafter the Moray House College of Education (part of the University of Edinburgh) in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Coltrane later called for public schools to be banned and used to be known as "Red Robbie",[5] rebelling against his conservative upbringing through involvement with Amnesty International, Greenpeace, the Labour Party, and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.


Coltrane in costume in the 1980s

Coltrane moved into acting in his early twenties, taking the stage name Coltrane (in tribute to jazz saxophonist John Coltrane)[6] and working in theatre and comedy. Appearing in the 1981 BBC television comedy series A Kick Up the Eighties, his comic skills also brought him roles in the The Comic Strip Presents (1982) series and the comedy sketch shows Alfresco (1983–1984) and Laugh??? I Nearly Paid My Licence Fee (1984).

Coltrane soon moved into roles in films such as Flash Gordon (1980), Death Watch (1980), Balham, Gateway to the South (1981), Scrubbers (1983), Krull (1983), The Supergrass (1985), Defence of the Realm (1985), Absolute Beginners (1986), Mona Lisa (1986) and appeared as "Annabelle" in The Fruit Machine (1988). On television, he also appeared in The Young Ones, Tutti Frutti (1987), as Samuel Johnson in Blackadder (1987) (a role he later reprised in the more serious Boswell and Johnson's Tour of the Western Islands (1993)), and in a number of stand-up and sketch comedy shows. He played the part of Falstaff in Kenneth Branagh's Henry V (1989) He co-starred with Eric Idle in Nuns on the Run (1990), and played the Pope in The Pope Must Die (1991). He also played a would-be private detective obsessed with Humphrey Bogart in the TV play The Bogie Man.

His roles went from strength to strength in the 1990s with the TV series Cracker (1993–1996, returning in 2006 for a one-off special), in which he starred as forensic psychologist Dr. Edward "Fitz" Fitzgerald.[7] The role won him three BAFTA awards.

After that, he gained roles in bigger films, such as the James Bond films GoldenEye (1995) and The World Is Not Enough (1999), a major supporting role in From Hell (2001), as well as half-giant Rubeus Hagrid in the Harry Potter films (2001–2011). J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, had Coltrane at the top of her list to play Hagrid and, when asked who she would like to see in the role, responded "Robbie Coltrane for Hagrid" in one quick breath.[8][9]

Coltrane has also presented a number of popular documentary programmes for the British ITV network based around his twin passions for travel and transportation. Coltrane in a Cadillac (1993) saw him cross North America from Los Angeles to New York behind the wheel of a 1951 Cadillac Series 62 coupe convertible, a journey of 3,765 miles (6,059 km) which he completed in 32 days.

In 1997, Coltrane appeared in a series of six programmes under the title Coltrane's Planes and Automobiles, in which he extolled the virtues of a number of engineering achievements, namely the steam engine, the diesel engine, the supercharger, the V8 engine, the two-stroke engine, and the jet engine. In these programmes, he dismantled and rebuilt several engines. He also single-handedly removed the engine from a Trabant car in 23 minutes.

In August 2007, Coltrane presented a series for ITV called B-Road Britain, in which he travelled from London to Glasgow, stopping in towns and villages along the way.

Coltrane was voted No. 11 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.

Personal life[edit]

Coltrane married Rhona Gemmell on 11 December 1999. The couple have two children, Spencer and Alice.

Filmography and awards[edit]

1980Flash GordonMan at air field
1980Death WatchLimousine Driver
1982Britannia HospitalStriking worker on picket lineNon-speaking role
1983Ghost DanceGeorge
1984Chinese BoxesHarwood
1985National Lampoon's European VacationMan in bathroom
1985Supergrass, TheThe SupergrassDet. Sgt. Troy
1985Defence of the RealmLeo McAskey
1986Mona LisaThomas
1987Eat the RichJeremy
1988Fruit Machine, TheThe Fruit MachineAnnabelle
1989Henry VFalstaff
1989Bert Rigby, You're a FoolSid Trample
1989Let It RideTicket Seller
1989Danny, the Champion of the WorldVictor Hazell
1990Midnight BreaksFat
1990Nuns on the RunCharlie McManus/Sister Inviolata
1990Perfectly NormalAlonzo Turner
1991Pope Must Die, TheThe Pope Must DieThe Pope
1991Triple Bogey on a Par Five HoleSteffano Baccardi
1992Oh, What a NightToddNominated – Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
1993Boswell & Johnson's Tour of the Western IslesDr. Samuel Johnson
1993Adventures of Huck Finn, TheThe Adventures of Huck FinnDuke
1995GoldenEyeValentin Dmitrovich Zukovsky
1997BuddyDr. Bill Lintz
1998Frogs for SnakesAl
1998MontanaThe Boss
1999World Is Not Enough, TheThe World Is Not EnoughValentin Dmitrovich Zukovsky
1999Message in a BottleCharlie Toschi
2001Harry Potter and the Philosopher's StoneRubeus HagridSorcerer's Stone in US
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
2001On the NoseDelaney
2001From HellSergeant Peter Godley
2002Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsRubeus HagridNominated – Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble Acting
2004Ocean's TwelveMatsui
2004Harry Potter and the Prisoner of AzkabanRubeus Hagrid
2004Van Helsing: The London AssignmentMr. Hydevoice
2004Van HelsingMr. Hydevoice
2005Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireRubeus Hagrid
2006StormbreakerThe Prime Minister of Europe
2006ProvokedLord Edward Foster
2007Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixRubeus Hagrid
2008Tale of Despereaux, TheThe Tale of DespereauxGregoryvoice
2008Brothers Bloom, TheThe Brothers BloomThe Curator
2009Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceRubeus Hagrid
2010Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1Rubeus Hagrid
2011Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2Rubeus Hagrid
2012BraveLord Dingwallvoice
Great ExpectationsMr. JaggersReleased 30 November 2012
2014EffieDoctorScheduled for May 2014 release


1979Play for TodayJimmie"Waterloo Sunset"
1980The Lost TribeBorder Post Guard"Keep Us Alive"
1981Metal MickeyJason"Mickey the Demon Barber"
1981–1984A Kick Up the EightiesAll ten episodes
1981Keep It in the FamilyMr. Conway"A Matter of Principle"
1982Sin on Saturday
1983Are You Being ServedDynamite Truck Driver on CB Radio"Mrs. Slocombe causes a crash"
1984The Young OnesDoctor in Episode "Bambi", Bouncer in Episode "Oil"
1987Blackadder the ThirdSamuel Johnson"Ink and Incapability"
1987Tutti FruttiDanny McGloneNominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Actor
1988Blackadder's Christmas CarolThe Spirit of Christmas
1989The Robbie Coltrane SpecialLWT comedy Special[10]
1990Danny Champion of the WorldVictor Hazell
CrackerDr. Eddie 'Fitz' FitzgeraldThree British Academy Television Awards for Best Actor (1994, 1995 and 1996)
Broadcasting Press Guild Award for Best Actor
Royal Television Society Award for Best Actor – Male
Nominated – CableACE Award for Best Actor in a Movie or Miniseries
For episode "Brotherly Love" (parts I, II and III).
1997Coltrane's Planes and Automobiles6-part Documentary
1998Ebb-Tide, TheThe Ebb-TideCapt. Chisholm
1999Alice in WonderlandNed Tweedledum
2003Comic Relief: The Big Hair DoHagrid
2003The PlanmanJack Lennox QC
2004FrasierMichael Moon"Goodnight, Seattle"
2005Still GameDavieSeason 4 Episode 3: "Dial-A-Bus"
2006Cracker: Nine ElevenDr. Eddie 'Fitz' Fitzgerald
2007Robbie Coltrane – B Road BritainTV Documentary
2009MurderlandD.I. Douglas Hain
2009The GruffaloThe GruffaloTV film (Children's), voice
2011Lead BalloonDonaldSeries 4 Episode 4: "Off"
Series 4 Episode 5: "Blade"
Series 4 Episode 6: "End"
50 Greatest Harry Potter MomentsHimselfNarrator
The Gruffalo Child[11]The GruffaloTV film (Children's), voice

Other Awards[edit]


  1. ^ "Robbie Coltrane Biography (1950–)". Retrieved 15 August 2011. 
  2. ^ "Robbie Coltrane's magical career". BBC News. 31 December 2005. 
  3. ^ "Robbie Coltrane Biography – Yahoo! Movies". Retrieved 15 August 2011. 
  4. ^ "Robbie Coltrane biography". Retrieved 15 August 2011. 
  5. ^ Paton, Maureen (20 March 2003). "'Hagrid? I'm just Dad'". London: Telegraph. 
  6. ^ "Scotland on Sunday". Retrieved 15 August 2011. 
  7. ^ "Dr Edward "Fitz" Fitzgerald". Retrieved 15 August 2011. 
  8. ^ "j.k. rowling". Neatorama. Retrieved 15 August 2011. 
  9. ^ ""'They really do look as I'd imagined they would inside my head.'" 11 November 2001. (Accio Quote!, the Largest Archive of J.K. Rowling quotes on the web)". Retrieved 15 August 2011. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "The Gruffalo's Child". BBC One. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 

External links[edit]