Harry Potter actor Robert Hardy dies at 91

Robert Hardy’s family announced his death and paid tribute to an actor whose theatre, film and television career spanned 70 years

Robert Hardy has passed away
Robert Hardy has passed away

The actor Robert Hardy, star of TV series All Creatures Great and Small, has died aged 91, his family has said.

Hardy, they said, had a "tremendous life" and "a giant career in theatre, television and film spanning more than 70 years".

He was also known for numerous portrayals of Winston Churchill.

In more recent years, he appeared as Cornelius Fudge, the Minister for Magic, in four of the Harry Potter films.

His children Emma, Justine and Paul said in a statement: "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.

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

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

Hardy started his acting career after World War Two with the Shakespeare Memorial Company in Stratford, later the RSC.

He went on to become a household name in the BBC's All Creatures Great and Small, in which he played senior vet Siegfried Farnon.

He played Churchill seven times, including in Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years, for which he won a Bafta in 1982.