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  1. ITV Report

Robert Hardy: Actor best known for All Creatures Great and Small and the Harry Potter films dies at 91

Robert Hardy played Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge in the Harry Potter film series. Credit: PA

Veteran British actor Robert Hardy, best known for his lead role in All Creatures Great and Small and as the Minister of Magic in the Harry Potter films, has died.

His family paid tribute to his "giant career" on stage and screen as they announced his death at 91 with a short 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 said.

Hardy played Siegfried Farnon in the celebrated TV veterinary series All Creatures Great and Small.

He was also also known for his small screen roles in Middlemarch and Little Dorrit and recently renewed his 1980s role as Sir Winston Churchill in 2015's Churchill: 100 Days That Saved Britain.

But it was his role as Cornelius Fudge in the hit Potter film series that made him a familiar face to a younger audience.

The Bafta-nominated star, who was born in 1925 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, was awarded a CBE for his services to acting.

A statement shared by his children Emma, Justine and Paul paid tribute to a "tremendous" life and their father's many talents and interests beyond his primary career.

"Dad is also 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, seen being directed by Sean Connery opposite Diane Cilento in 1969 West End play I've Seen You Cut Lemons. Credit: PA

"He was an essential part of the team that raised the great Tudor warship The Mary Rose," the statement said.

"Gruff, elegant, twinkly, and always dignified, he is celebrated by all who knew him and loved him, and everyone who enjoyed his work."

The statement added: "We are immensely grateful to the team at Denville Hall for the tender care they gave during his last weeks."

All Creatures co-star Christopher Timothy said that Hardy "made us laugh a lot", adding that he would "miss him a lot".

Potter author JK Rowling paid tribute to Hardy as "such a talented actor".

Further tributes were paid by the Royal Shakespeare Company, Westminster Abbey and the Mary Rose Museum.

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