British Actor Robert Hardy has passed away at the age of 91. Hardy was arguably best know for playing Cornelius Fudge in the Harry Potter movies, but had a career that spanned 70 years on stage and screen. The actor spent his final weeks at Denville Hall, which is a retirement home for actors in London, England. Hardy's children praised the level of care that he was given at the home in his final days.
The U.K.'s Daily Mail reports that Robert Hardy died via a statement released from Hardy's family. Hardy's children Emma, Justine, and Paul described their father's life as "tremendous" while saying, "Gruff, elegant, twinkly, and always dignified, he is celebrated by all who knew him and loved him, and everyone who enjoyed his work." Hardy's instantly recognizable voice and British manner earned him a career that lasted for over 70 years. Another one of his best-known roles was in the BBC's All Creatures Great and Small as the irascible vet Siegfried Farnon. By the time of his start on All Creatures Great and Small, the late actor was already known as a versatile, veteran actor in England.
Robert Hardy's early years as an actor were at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre and it's there where he found a life-long interest in the longbow while playing Henry V. Hardy even went as far as to write two published books on the longbow in addition to his passion of acting. He acted alongside Laurence Olivier in Coriolanus and later went on to television roles, including the long running All Creatures Great and Small. Hardy played Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt on more than one occasion. He won a BAFTA Award for his role as Churchill in Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years in 1981. In fact, Hardy was set to play Churchill again at the age of 87 for a stage production, but had to pull out due to injury. The actor is the second Harry Potter star to pass away this year, following the January passing of John Hurt.
But it is arguably Hardy's role as Minister Cornelius Oswald Fudge that the beloved actor is best known for. He was in 4 of the Harry Potter movies including The Chamber of Secrets, The Goblet of Fire, The Order of the Phoenix, and The Prisoner of Azkaban. Hardy had said, "it was great fun while it lasted, the boys and girls were all absolutely splendid." The actor went on to say, "Thanks to those films I get the most extraordinary amount of fan mail from all over the world, even China."
Robert Hardy even studied under Chronicles of Narnia author C.S. Lewis and Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien while earning his degree at Oxford, a degree, which he later referred to as "shabby." Hardy's children said, "Dad is remembered 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." Robert Hardy seemed to do just about everything he ever wanted to do and on his own terms. The actor is survived by his children Emma Hardy, Paul Hardy and Justine Hardy.