Known for his roles in BBC series All Creatures Great And Small, and the Harry Potter movies — as well as myriad portrayals of Winston Churchill — British actor Robert Hardy has died. His family told the BBC today that Hardy had a “tremendous life.” He was 91.
Hardy’s career spanned more than 70 years, and saw him recognized for six incarnations of Churchill including in 1981’s PBS mini Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years; 1988’s ABC miniseries War And Remembrance; and ITV’s 2015 Churchill: 100 Days That Saved Britain. He was very well known to British audiences as veterinarian Siegfried Farnon in the Peabody Award winning BBC series All Creatures Great And Small which ran in the late ’70s and ’80s and was based on the books by James Herriot.
In 2002, Hardy appeared as Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge in Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, reprising the role in three other films of the franchise.
Born in 1925 in Cheltenham, England, Hardy attended Oxford with Richard Burton, who became an enduring friend. He studied under JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis while there and in 1949 joined the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre. His first film role was in Glenn Ford’s 1958 MGM picture, Torpedo Run. In 1965, he appeared with Burton in The Spy Who Came In From The Cold and continued to work steadily in film and television.
Some of his other credits include BBC miniseries Middlemarch and Little Dorrit, and features Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Sense And Sensibility. He received two BAFTA nominations throughout his career.
In a statement released to the press today, Hardy’s family said, “Gruff, elegant, twinkly, and always dignified, he is celebrated by all who knew him and loved him, and everyone who enjoyed his work.”