Robbie Coltrane

Robbie Coltrane

Coltrane in April 2007
Anthony Robert McMillan

(1950-03-30) 30 March 1950 (age 69)
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh
OccupationActor, author
Years active1979–present
Height6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Rhona Gemmell
(m. 1999; sep. 2003)

Anthony Robert McMillan OBE (born 30 March 1950), known professionally as Robbie Coltrane, is a Scottish actor and author. He is known for his roles as Rubeus Hagrid in the Harry Potter films, as Valentin Dmitrovich Zhukovsky 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

Coltrane was born Anthony Robert McMillan in Rutherglen, 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] 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. 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.[3] From Glenalmond, Coltrane went on to Glasgow School of Art, where he was ridiculed for "having an accent like Prince Charles" (of which he quickly disposed, though not before gaining the nickname "Lord Fauntleroy"), and thereafter Moray House College of Education (now part of the University of Edinburgh) in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Coltrane later called for private schools to be banned and used to be known as "Red Robbie",[4] 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)[5] 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 Comic Strip Presents (1982) series and the comedy sketch shows Alfresco (1983–1984) and Laugh??? I Nearly Paid My Licence Fee (1984).

Coltrane 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 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 continued 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.[6] The role won him three BAFTA awards.

Roles in bigger films followed; the James Bond films GoldenEye (1995) and The World Is Not Enough (1999), a 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 whom she would like to see in the role, responded "Robbie Coltrane for Hagrid" in one quick breath.[7][8] There is also an unnamed 8 ft actor who stands in for the 6 ft 1in Coltrane in some scenes.[9][10]

Coltrane has also presented a number of 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 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

Coltrane married Rhona Gemmell on 11 December 1999. The couple have two children: son Spencer (b. 1992), and daughter Alice (b. 1998). Coltrane and Gemmell separated in 2003 and later divorced.[11]

Filmography and awards


1980Flash GordonMan at air field
Death WatchLimousine Driver
1981Subway RidersCrime Detective
1982Britannia HospitalStriking worker on picket lineNon-speaking role
1983Ghost DanceGeorge
1985National Lampoon's European VacationMan in bathroom
The SupergrassDet. Sgt. Troy
Defence of the RealmLeo McAskey
Mona LisaThomas
1987Eat the RichJeremy
1988The Fruit MachineAnnabelle
1989Henry VFalstaff
Bert Rigby, You're a FoolSid Trample
Let It RideTicket Seller
Danny, the Champion of the WorldVictor Hazell
Nuns on the RunCharlie McManus/Sister Inviolata
Perfectly NormalAlonzo Turner
1991The Pope Must DieThe Pope
Triple 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
The Adventures of Huck FinnDuke
1995GoldenEyeValentin Dmitrovich Zukovsky
1997BuddyDr. Bill Lintz
1998Frogs for SnakesAl
MontanaThe Boss
1999The World Is Not EnoughValentin Dmitrovich Zukovsky
Message in a BottleCharlie Toschi
2001On the NoseDelaney
From HellSergeant Peter Godley
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's StoneRubeus HagridNominated – BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
2002Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsNominated – Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble Acting
2004Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Ocean's TwelveMatsui
Van Helsing: The London AssignmentMr. Hydevoice
Van HelsingMr. Hydevoice
2005Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireRubeus Hagrid
2006StormbreakerThe Prime Minister of Europe
ProvokedLord Edward Foster
2007Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixRubeus Hagrid
2008The Tale of DespereauxGregoryvoice
The Brothers BloomThe Curator
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceRubeus Hagrid
2010Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1
2011Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
2012BraveLord Dingwallvoice
Great ExpectationsMr. Jaggers


1979Play for TodayJimmie"Waterloo Sunset"
1980Border 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
1982Five Go Mad in DorsetFemale shopkeeper / Male gypsySeason 1, Episode 1 of The Comic Strip Presents
1983Are You Being ServedDynamite-truck driver on CB Radio"Calling All Customers"
1984The Young OnesDoctor in Episode "Bambi", Bouncer in Episode "Oil", Captain Blood in "Time"
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[12]
1990Danny Champion of the WorldVictor Hazell
1991Screen OnePsychiatrist Liam Kane"Alive And Kicking"
1993The Legend of LochnagarThe old manTV film, voice
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
1998The 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 Britain TV 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's Child[13]The GruffaloTV film (children's), voice
2016National TreasurePaul FinchleyTV film
Nominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Actor
2016–presentRobbie Coltrane Critical EvidenceHosttrue crime, non fiction, host

Other awards


  1. ^ "Robbie Coltrane Biography (1950–)". Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  2. ^ "Robbie Coltrane's magical career". BBC News. 31 December 2005.
  3. ^ "Robbie Coltrane biography". Archived from the original on 8 April 2009. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  4. ^ Paton, Maureen (20 March 2003). "'Hagrid? I'm just Dad'". London.
  5. ^ "Scotland on Sunday". Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  6. ^ "Dr Edward "Fitz" Fitzgerald". Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  7. ^ "j.k. rowling". Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  8. ^ Alderson, Andrew (11 November 2001). "'They really do look as I'd imagined they would inside my head'". The Sunday Telegraph. Retrieved 15 August 2011. (Accio Quote!, the Largest Archive of J.K. Rowling quotes on the web)
  9. ^ Ezard, John (5 June 2002). "Size means everything as Harry's big secret slips out". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  10. ^ Femia, Will (13 November 2001). "Chat Flashback: The cinematic debut of Rubeus Hagrid". MSNBC. NBC News. Retrieved 1 October 2016. In real life, I'm 6'1" -- each way pretty well, north and south and east and west, unfortunately
  11. ^ Hughes, Sarah (17 September 2016). "Robbie Coltrane: the jovial giant with an enduring hint of menace". the Guardian.
  12. ^ "The Robbie Coltrane Special". Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  13. ^ "The Gruffalo's Child". BBC One. Retrieved 10 December 2011.

External links