British actor Robert Hardy, best known for his roles in the TV series All Creatures Great and Small and the Harry Potter franchise, has passed away at 91 years old. Hardy’s family confirmed his death on Thursday to BBC, releasing a statement that “Hardy had “a tremendous life” and “a giant career in theater, television, and film spanning more than 70 years.”
Born in Cheltenham, England, in 1925, Hardy began his career as a stage actor before gaining widespread acclaim for the character of Siegfried Farnon on All Creatures Great and Small. The series went on for two runs on British television: one from 1978 to 1980, and another from 1988 to 1990. He was also known for his multiple performances as Winston Churchill, with the most notable one being in the 1981 8-part serial drama Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years.
Later in his career, Hardy undertook a mainstream role as Cornelius Fudge in the Harry Potter films. Beginning with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in 2002, Hardy reprised his role as the Minister of Magic in many of the franchise’s sequels. This included Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) and Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix (2007).
Harry Potter writer J. K. Rowling tweeted her condolences to Hardy and his family on Thursday. “So very sad to hear about Robert Hardy,” she wrote. “He was such a talented actor and everybody who worked with him on Potter loved him.”
So very sad to hear about Robert Hardy. He was such a talented actor and everybody who worked with him on Potter loved him.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) August 3, 2017
Hardy is survived by his children, Emma, Justine, and Paul. In their statement, they remember their father as “a meticulous linguist, a fine artist, a lover of music and a champion of literature, as well as a highly respected historian, and a leading specialist on the longbow. He was an essential part of the team that raised the great Tudor warship The Mary Rose.”