As confirmed by The Guardian, actor Robert Hardy—probably best known for playing Cornelius Fudge in the Harry Potter movies—has died. A cause of death has not been given, but Hardy’s family says he died at Denville Hall, a London retirement home for actors. He was 91.
Born in England in 1925, Hardy was the son of a college headmaster and attended the University Of Oxford’s constituent school Magdalen College where he briefly studied under J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Trained as a classical actor, Hardy got his theatrical start at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon but began appearing on TV shortly after. With a career that ran for 70 years, Hardy had roles in The Troubleshooters, Inspector Morse, and Hot Metal, but his biggest TV role was playing veterinarian Siegfried Farnon on the long-running British drama All Creatures Great And Small.
In the early 2000s, Hardy became known to a more global audience when he first appeared as Minister Of Magic Cornelius Fudge in Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets. An authority figure who didn’t much stock in the words of a boy wizard and his little friends, Fudge was a man who valued his political office more than anything else and acted as a lesson to the Harry Potter audience that not every grownup is as lovable as Dumbledore. On Twitter, Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling posted a tribute to Hardy, noting that “everybody who worked with him on Potter loved him.”
Hardy is survived by his children Emma, Justine, and Paul, who released a statement that referred to him as “gruff, elegant, twinkly, and always dignified,” adding that he “is celebrated by all who knew him and loved him, and everyone who enjoyed his work.”