In the world of Harry Potter, characters live for years and years beyond the lifespans of mere muggles. In real life the actors and actresses who played key roles in the film franchise are still mere muggles, and we've lost a great one today. Robert Hardy, who played Cornelius Fudge in the popular movies, is dead at the age of 91.
Reports broke today noting that Robert Hardy had died on Thursday, but currently no cause of death is being noted. His children did give a statement, per the Guardian, noting the actor had spent his last days in the Denville Hall retirement home for actors in London. His children said of their late father:
Robert Hardy was acting as recently as 2015, when he appeared in Churchill: 100 Days That Saved Britain and other roles. Portraying Winston Churchill on the screen was a gig that Robert Hardy was known for over the years. He'd also portrayed the character in an episode of Agatha Christie's Marple, War and Remembrance, Bomber Harris, The Woman He Loved, and Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years. The actor had formerly called playing Winston Churchill "the greatest challenge of my acting career." Hardy also popularized Siegfried Farnon in All Creatures Great and Small.
The younger generation most knew him for bringing Cornelius Fudge to life on the big screen. In J.K. Rowling's story, Fudge is the Minister of Magic for a time, and he has trouble accepting Voldemort's return throughout the books, later becoming an antagonistic figure when he took a hard line against Albus Dumbledore. Robert Hardy's movie character last appears in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, when after the Department of Mysteries fight makes it clear that Voldemort is back, he resigns as Minister of Magic.
He was also an accomplished thespian, appearing in numerous plays over the years. He spent his 90th birthday reading at Westminster Abbey, recreating the prologue of Act IV of Henry V by Shakespeare. Beginning acting after World War II, Robert Hardy's career literally spanned over 60 years.
But his kids note he was much more than his acting career, commenting,
In short, and put very simply, he had a very good run. Our thoughts go out to his family during this difficult time.