Harry Potter and All Creatures Great And Small actor Robert Hardy has died aged 91. His family said in a statement: “It is with great sadness that the family of Robert Hardy CBE today announced his death, following a tremendous life: a giant career in theatre, television and film spanning more than 70 years.”
“From the early start, post-WWII, with the Shakespeare Memorial Company in Stratford, to his later role in the Harry Potter films as Cornelius Fudge, The Minister For Magic — he will perhaps be most remembered for two iconic roles: as Siegfried Farnon in the long-running and much-loved BBC series All Creatures Great & Small, and in his many and magnificently distinguished portrayals of Winston Churchill,” the statement said, according to Western Journalism.
Hardy played former U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchhill six times, immersing himself so deeply into his character each time that he drew complaints from his loved ones.
So sad to hear about Robert Hardy – I was only recently re-watching his performance in ‘Churchill- The Wilderness Years’. Utterly brilliant. pic.twitter.com/bbaJ31WEOh
— Nigel Fletcher (@nigelfletcher) August 3, 2017
“My family complained loudly about my behavior while I was playing him,” he once said.
Hardy also played former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt twice: once in the BBC series Bertie and Elizabeth, which explored the relationship between King George VI and his wife, Queen Elizabeth, and again in the French series Le Grand Charles, which chronicled the life of French general and statesman Charles de Gaulle.
Born in 1925 and known as a self-professed “odd child,” Hardy first obtained an English degree from Magdalen College in Oxford University and served in the Royal Air Force before turning his lifelong interest in Hollywood films into a career in acting in 1949.
But what started that year as a gig at the Shakespeare Memorial Company quickly spiraled into a lengthy career that lasted more than half a century, with his final performance being in the 2015 film Joseph’s Reel, where he played the character Old Joseph.
Hardy also starred in four Harry Potter films — Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix— before reportedly being dropped from the role of Cornelius Fudge due to a conflict with the production studio.
He once reflected: “The ego may be essential for survival in the wilderness of acting, but it’s something that requires a great deal of control if you’re going to make a success of life.”