Robert Hardy died at age 91. Hardy was a veteran British actor best known for his role as the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge in the ‘Harry Potter’ movies.
Hardy’s family assured the actor died Thursday after “a tremendous life: a giant career in theater, television, and film spanning more than 70 years.”
Robert Hardy left a mark in the british industry
Actor Robert Hardy, who’s one of the familiar faces on British television, died on Wednesday at Denville Hall, a London retirement home for actors. Hardy’s family confirmed the news with a heartfelt 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,” the statement read.
The statement went on praising Hardy’s work and life achievements.
“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,” read the statement.
The children of the actor then added a more personal note. “Dad is also remembered as a meticulous linguist, a fine artist, a lover of music and a champion of literature, as well a highly respected historian, and a leading specialist on the longbow.”
Hardy is survived by his children Emma, Justine, and Paul, who also thanked Denville Hall for the great care they took over their father’s last weeks.
Remembering a well lived life and great career
Hardy was born in Cheltenham in 1925 to Jocelyn and Henry Harrison Hardy, the headmaster of Cheltenham College.
He was educated at Rugby School and Magdalen College, Oxford University, where his studies were interrupted by service in the Royal Air Force, after which he returned to gain a BA (Hons) in English.
During his time at Oxford University, he became friends with another aspiring actor, Richard Burton.
It was also here that the future star had the opportunity to study under renowned ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ writer CS Lewis, as well as ‘Lord of the Rings’ author J.R.R Tolkien.
He began his career after the war in Shakespearean roles on stage in Stratford-upon-Avon. He was 24 when he first took to stage with an adaptation of ‘Coriolanus.’ He spent much of the 1950s in number of theatre roles, but his film parts came in the 1958 feature ‘Torpedo Run.’
In 1952, he wed to Elizabeth Fox, the daughter of Sir Lionel Fox. The couple had a son Paul. The marriage ended in 1956. In 1961 he married Sally Pearson, the daughter of baronet Sir Neville Pearson, the marriage ended in 1986. Robert had two other children, Justine Hardy, a journalist, activist, and psychotherapist, and Emma, a photographer.
Over the years, Hardy played a range of parts in television and film. His first continuing role in a TV series was as businessman Alec Stewart in the award-winning oil company drama ‘The Troubleshooters’ for the BBC, which he played from 1966 to 1970.
He won further acclaim for his portrayal of the mentally-unhinged Abwehr Sgt. Gratz in LWT’s 1969 war drama ‘Manhunt’. In 1975, Hardy portrayed Albert, Prince Consort in the award-winning 13-hour serial ‘Edward the Seventh’.
Between 1978 and 1990, Hardy played the eccentric veterinarian Siegfried Farnon in ‘All Creatures Great and Small,’ a popular TV series based on James Herriot’s books about rural life in the Yorkshire Dales.
Hardy played British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in at least half a dozen films and TV series, including the miniseries ‘Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years’ and ‘War and Remembrance.’ He also played U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Churchill’s wartime ally, in both British and French TV series.
The Bafta-nominated star, from Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, was also awarded a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1981 Birthday Honours. The actor was also one of the experts consulted by the archaeologist responsible for raising the Mary Rose.
He was Master of the Worshipful Company of Bowyers of the City of London from 1988 to 1990. In 1996 he was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.
Hardy continued acting, mostly in plays. But, in February 2013, Hardy withdrew from his scheduled performance as Winston Churchill in Peter Morgan’s play, ‘The Audience’, after suffering cracked ribs as the result of a fall.
Remembering their good friend
Celebs took to social media platforms to pay tribute to the late actor. Harry Potter author JK Rowling shared her fond memory of the actor as 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
We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Robert Hardy, who played Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge. He will be greatly missed. pic.twitter.com/S1DscwlDtX
— Harry Potter Film (@HarryPotterFilm) August 3, 2017
Christopher Timothy, his co-star from All Creatures Great and Small, paid tribute to Hardy saying: “He has left an unbelievable legacy of fantastic work for many generations to enjoy and appreciate.”
Many other celebs and his fans took to various social media platforms to express their grief.
BBC news tells me Robert Hardy, the Minister of Magic has died. Terribly sad. He was a very kind man who told wonderful stories. xx
— Chris Rankin (@chrisrankin) August 3, 2017
Gracious, witty, TALENTED, Robert Hardy. He was kind and generous to me on All Creatures…..and we laughed. RIP Robert
— Annette Badland (@AnnetteBadland1) August 4, 2017
— Westminster Abbey (@wabbey) August 3, 2017
We're sad to hear Robert Hardy, best known for roles in the Harry Potter films & TV series All Creatures Great And Small, has died aged 91 pic.twitter.com/1WXkVcuExo
— BFI (@BFI) August 3, 2017
Sad to hear Robert Hardy has died. Best known for All Creatures Great And Small and of course as Cornelius Fudge in the Harry Potter films. pic.twitter.com/n253w8eoAm
— Tony Shepherd (@tonysheps) August 3, 2017
Source: Asian Age