‘Avada Kedavra’- Looks like the killing curse effect is real and it seems that it has been cast upon most of the professors from the Herculean franchise.
Potterheads surround every inch of the world paying tribute to their favorite franchise almost every year, especially around Halloween when Harry Potter marathons are common. Given the ardent fan base, the death of an actor from the franchise strikes a chord in every viewer, and we are set to reminisce about their time on screen.
So here are 23 actors whose demises have shaken the fans with grief over the years.
1) Michael Gambon – Albus Dumbledore
The most recent death was that of Gambon who is best remembered for his role as Albus Dumbledore, the Headmaster of Hogwarts and a close confidante of Harry Potter, passed away peacefully at the hospital on 28th September 2023, aged 82, following a bout of pneumonia.
People reported the statement, “We are devastated to announce the loss of Sir Michael Gambon,” the statement said. “Beloved husband and father, Michael died peacefully in hospital with his wife Anne and son Fergus at his bedside.”
He had taken over the role of Dumbledore from the Chamber Of Secrets after the actor Richard Harris who played Dumbledore in the first two movies passed away.
2) Alan Rickman – Severus Snape
Rickman’s portrayal of Snape, the anti-hero of Harry Potter, whose cold demeanor and superiority complex all while hiding a secret all the years since he saw Harry when he was a baby, was loved by all the potterheads. His infinite love for Harry’s mother Lily, his double-agent role for Voldemort and Dumbledore, and his protecting Harry till the very end made him the ultimate martyr in the series.
So when Alan Rickman’s untimely death was announced back in 2016 by a family statement to BBC, on account of pancreatic cancer at the age of 69, fans all over the world mourned this great hero’s loss.
“After All This Time?”
3) Robbie Coltrane – Rubeus Hagrid
Known best for his portrayal as the loving gentle giant Hagrid in the Harry Potter films, the actor died in October 2022 at the age of 72. He was best known for his weird pets he would keep, his huge hugs with Harry, Hermione, and Ron, and his protective and selfless nature.
In the Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, Coltrane reminisced about his magnificent journey in the franchise’s run from 2001 to 2011 saying,
“The legacy of the movies is that my children’s generation will show them to their children, so you could be watching it in 50 years, easy,” he continued, “I’ll not be here sadly, but Hagrid will.”
You will always be in our hearts Hagrid.
4) Helen McCrory – Narissa Malfoy
Known best for her role as Narissa Malfoy, Draco Malfoy’s mother, she was an enigmatic character who had a redemption arc by the end of the final movie. She passed away from cancer in her home in London in April of 2021. She was 52. Damian Lewis, husband and actor shared the sad news on Twitter.
“I’m heartbroken to announce that after a heroic battle with cancer, the beautiful and mighty woman that is Helen McCrory has died peacefully at home, surrounded by a wave of love from friends and family,” Lewis posted in a statement on Twitter.
“She died as she lived. Fearlessly. God, we love her and know how lucky we are to have had her in our lives. She blazed so brightly. Go now, Little One, into the air, and thank you.”
She was amidst her dauntless role in Peaky Blinders as Polly Gray was cut short after the fourth season due to her sudden death.
5) Richard Griffiths- Vernon Dursley
The actor Richard Griffiths was best known for his role in Harry Potter as his evil step-uncle. He died in 2013 following complications after heart surgery at University Hospital in Coventry, central England at the age of 65.
Daniel Radcliffe at the time offered his condolences in a statement to BBC saying “Richard was by my side during two of the most important moments of my career. I was proud to know him.”
6) Richard Harris – Albus Dumbledore (First Two Movies)
Best known for his role as Albus Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter movies Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets, he passed away in 2002 following his long battle with Hodgkin’s Disease, at the age of 72 in the University College of London Hospital.
After his demise, Michael Gambon took on the role of Albus Dumbledore till the end of the movie.
7) Paul Grant – Gringotts goblin
Actor and stuntman Paul Grant passed away at the age of 56 earlier in 2023 March. He is best known for his portrayals in fantasy franchises such as Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi and Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s Stone.
His portrayal as Ewok in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983) and a Gringotts goblin in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) garnered him acclaim. Along with this, he also appeared in 1986’s Labyrinth as part of the Goblin Corps and as a stunt double for the character Hoggle and performed stunts in Willow (1988) and Legend (1985).
Spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita, “a rare genetic disorder” that can cause “short stature and orthopedic conditions in the joints,” according to Johns Hopkins is what the actor was diagnosed with.
8) Leslie Philips – Sorting Hat
The pivotal voiceover of the ‘Sorting Hat’ that decided the fates of the students of Hogwarts by sitting on their heads, understanding their mindset and essence, and assigning houses from the four monumental ones, Godric Gryffindor, Salazar Slytherin, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Helga Hufflepuff died at the age of 98 in November 2022.
His agent reported to the BBC that he died peacefully in his sleep. Speaking to The Sun, his wife Zara Carr said, “I’ve lost a wonderful husband and the public has lost a truly great showman,” adding, “He was quite simply a national treasure. People loved him. He was mobbed everywhere he went.”
9) Verne Troyer – Griphook
He played Griphook in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone although his voice was dubbed by English actor Warwick Davis, who worked at Gringotts Wizarding Bank, and later replaced Troyer, who died in 2018. His untimely death was ruled as ‘suicide’ six months after he passed away.
According to a press release obtained by PEOPLE from the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner’s office, Troyer died of alcohol intoxication at the age of 49.
His family confirmed his death in a statement shared on Instagram and Facebook at the time saying, “It is with great sadness and incredibly heavy hearts to write that Verne passed away today. Verne was an extremely caring individual. He wanted to make everyone smile, be happy, and laugh. Anybody in need, he would help to any extent possible.”
10) Robert Hardy – Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge
Best known for his role as Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge, Hardy died in 2017 at the age of 91. He played Cornelius Fudge in four Harry Potter movies, “Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, and Order of the Phoenix.”
According to BBC, as reported by People, he lived a “tremendous life” with “a giant career in theatre, television and film spanning more than 70 years,” according to his family’s statement. “Gruff, elegant, twinkly, and always dignified, he is celebrated by all who knew him and loved him and everyone who enjoyed his work.”\
11) John Hurt – Garrick Ollivander (the wand shop owner)
The legend that assisted Harry Potter in wielding the greatest wand for the greatest wizard was portrayed by The Academy Award nominee John Hurt. He played the wand shop owner role in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and returned to the series for Deathly Hallows and Goblet of Fire, but thereafter was not seen.
Following his demise in 2027, J.K. Rowling, the writer of the franchise paid tribute on Twitter,
“So very sad to hear that the immensely talented and deeply beloved John Hurt has died,” Rowling typed. “My thoughts are with his family and friends.”
12) Timothy Bateson – voiced Kreacher the house elf
He voiced over the role of the pivotal house elf Kreacher in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix before he passed away at the age of 83 in 2009.
Simon McBurney took on the part in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 following Bateson’s death.
13) Sam Beazley – Professor Everard
The British actor passed away at the age of 101 in 2017 most probably of old age after his brief but assuring role in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix as Professor Everard, a talking painting.
14) Dave Legeno – Werewolf Fenrir Greyback
According to authorities, as reported by People, Legeno died from heatstroke in California’s Death Valley in November of 2014. Inyo County Sheriff’s Department said hikers found his body in a remote area of the desert park, with no bouts of foul play but a plain heatstroke death, while he was only 50.
His character, Fenrir Greyback was a werewolf and a Death Eater with a preference for attacking unsuspecting children who appeared in three Harry Potter films.
15) Robert Knox – Marcus Belby
In 2008, 18-year-old Knox was stabbed to death outside a London bar in a fit to protect his brother. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was going to hit the theatres soon. People reports,
‘Knox rushed outside the bar where a 22-year-old man named Karl Bishop exploded in a burst of rage and stabbed a group of five people 10 times with kitchen knives. There, Bishop stabbed Robert five times, including in a main artery, which resulted in his death in a hospital later that night.’
He had a brief role in Half-Blood Prince, which he never got to see because of his tragic demise. “Rob was happy, outgoing, and a fun person to be with,” Colin, his father made a statement. “Rob always put everyone before himself, was always the first person to stand up against wrong. He achieved so much in his short life.
16) Alfred Burke – Dippet
Armando Dippet was Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft, and a predecessor of Albus Dumbledore, who appeared for his brief role in Chamber Of Secrets, before his passing in 2011 at the age of 92.
17) Jimmy Gardner – Ernie Prang, the driver of the double-decker Knight Bus
Jimmy Gardener, an English actor who played the crazy double-decker magical Knight Bus driver Ernie Prang, passed away at the age of 85 in 2010.
He appeared in only one movie of Harry Potter, which was Prisoner Of Azkaban.
18) Elizabeth Spriggs – Fat Lady
A long-running associative actress of the Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theater, Spriggs was 78 when she died in 2008. Her role in Harry Potter as the Fat Lady in the frame was hilarious and inspiring.
If you were to pass to Gryffindor Tower, you had to come across her and blurt out the correct password to pass through.
19) Paul Ritter – Eldred Worple
Ritter reportedly died of a brain tumor at the age of 54, reps for the star confirmed to PEOPLE in a statement on April 6, 2021 — adding, “died peacefully at home with his wife Polly and sons Frank and Noah by his side.” The statement continued, “Paul was an exceptionally talented actor playing an enormous variety of roles on stage and screen with extraordinary skill. He was fiercely intelligent, kind, and very funny. We will miss him greatly.”
20) Terence Bayler – The Bloody Baron
Terrence Bayler played The Bloody Baron, a ghost that haunts Hogwarts. The New Zealand actor appeared in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, before his demise at the age of 86 in 2016.
Apart from these, Peter Cartwright, Derek Deadman, and Hazel Douglas, who played Elphias Doge, Tom, and Bathilda Bagshot, respectively, have also passed away.
It is not easy to forget these faces given their prominent roles in the titular franchise. Who was your favorite character from the above-mentioned characters? Write down your thoughts in the comment section below and let us hear it!