Harry Potter Stars Who've Sadly Passed Away

"Harry Potter" has been enchanting audiences for years — whether you're a fan of the book series, or it was the films that captured your imagination, "Harry Potter" is a staple throughout collective, international culture. Ask yourselves: What other series has so many intricate characters, so many unique creatures, rituals, and traditions, and keeps us coming back time and time again? The only answer is "Harry Potter."

J.K. Rowling brought an entirely new world to the pages of her books, and it was up to the actors throughout the film series to bring the characters to life in front of our eyes. So many people have said since the films premiered that the casting of Harry, Hermione, and Ron couldn't have been more perfect and that Snape was just as true in the films as he was in the books. But, of course, as time has passed, beloved actors who made the wizarding world what it was (and is) have since died. 

We're taking a look back at some of the cast members of the "Harry Potter" film series who are no longer with us and are celebrating all that they represented on screen. Here are the "Harry Potter" stars who've sadly passed away.

Richard Harris (Dumbledore)

The wizarding world of "Harry Potter" would not be nearly the place it is without Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts. He guides Harry throughout his time at the school and beyond in his fight against Voldemort, and he delivers some of the best one-liners. The actor who originally filled the role in the first two "Harry Potter" films, Richard Harris, died after fighting an aggressive form of Hodgkin's disease, and, as noted by Entertainment Weekly, had a fighting spirit that was hard to come by. 

Chris Columbus, the director behind the first two "Harry Potter" films, said in a press conference just hours before Harris died that the actor had every intention of coming back to set as Dumbledore — that despite his illness, he was ready to bring the wizarding professor back to life. "He did threaten to kill me if I recast [Dumbledore]," Columbus said during the press conference. "I cannot even repeat what he said. He still has got that fight inside of him."

"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" was the last film that Harris appeared in as Dumbledore. He was later replaced by actor Michael Gambon.

Richard Griffiths (Uncle Vernon)

Uncle Vernon Dursley may be one of the most despised characters within the "Harry Potter" series, but the role was brought to life by the beloved actor Richard Griffiths. Griffiths sadly died in 2013 after suffering complications from heart surgery and was remembered by many as a wonderful man with talent beyond measure. As noted by Entertainment Weekly, Griffiths had a wide-ranging career, but it was Uncle Vernon that he was most known for.

Despite his character's turbulent relationship with Harry, Griffiths and actor Daniel Radcliffe — who is not on social media — worked together on a number of occasions. The two, of course, shared the screen during the "Harry Potter" films, but also made their way to the stage together in a 2008 production of "Equus" in London. Radcliffe said after Griffiths' death that he was "proud" to have known him. "In August 2000, before official production had even begun on 'Potter,' we filmed a shot outside the Dursleys', which was my first ever shot as Harry. I was nervous and he made me feel at ease," Radcliffe said. "Any room he walked into was made twice as funny and twice as clever just by his presence."

Elizabeth Spriggs (The Fat Lady)

"Harry Potter" isn't just a series of stories that follow the battle against good and evil — it brings an entire world to life. Hogwarts school is just as much a character in the films as Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and the paintings within the school are one such aspect that makes the school a living, breathing entity. One such painting is of the "fat lady," and the original actress to fulfill the role was legendary stage actress Elizabeth Spriggs.

As noted by The Guardian, Spriggs made a career out of performances in iconic works like "Work is a 4-Letter Word" and "Sense and Sensibility." She had been a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, had starred in London's West End theater scene, and continued working later in her career in both film and television. While her career was profound, Spriggs was described as a loving woman who not only cared deeply about her family, but who genuinely believed that the film industry could "reach people in a different and acceptable way." Spriggs' role as the "fat lady" was given to comedic actress Dawn French after her death.

Verne Troyer (Griphook)

"Harry Potter" features wizards, witches, creatures, elves, mythical animals — you name it — and one such role within the series is Griphook, a goblin who works at Gringott's Wizarding Bank, played by the legendary actor Verne Troyer. As noted by The Washington Post, Troyer was not only known for playing Griphook, as his performance in "Austin Powers" also had a major impact on the entertainment industry. 

However, Troyer's fame and success could not keep him away from harmful habits, and he developed an addiction to alcohol. "As you know, I've battled alcohol addiction in the past," he wrote on social media in 2017 (via The Post). "While it's not always been an easy fight, I'm willing to continue my fight day by day." On April 21, 2018, Troyer died after being admitted to the hospital for alcohol abuse. His family later shared that he had other "battles," including suicidal tendencies and depression — an announcement later revealed that he had died from multiple organ failure.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

John Hurt (Mr. Ollivander)

Any fan of the "Harry Potter" series knows that wand selection is a very serious business, and no wandmaker had the influence quite like Mr. Ollivander. "The wand chooses the wizard, Mr. Potter. It's not always clear why," Mr. Ollivander said to the young Harry Potter, and, in an instant, an iconic scene from the film series was born. The beloved wandmaker was brought to life by the BAFTA award-winning actor John Hurt, who sadly died in 2017 from pancreatic cancer. 

As noted by BBC News at the time of his death, Hurt had made quite the name for himself from his performances in films including "Alien" and "Midnight Express," but fans of the wizarding world knew him as the man behind every wand sale. Hurt's wife described her husband as a man known for bringing "joy and magic" to those around him, a very fitting description given his role in J.K. Rowling's world. "So very sad to hear that the immensely talented and deeply beloved John Hurt has died," Rowling tweeted at the time of his death. "My thoughts are with his family and friends."

Alan Rickman (Severus Snape)

Of all the characters who made a lasting impact on the "Harry Potter" series, Severus Snape, the man who gave his life to protect Harry is the pinnacle. Distinct in his dress, his dialect both drawn out and sharp as a sword, he is, without question, a staple character in the series, who was brought to life on screen by actor Alan Rickman, who sadly died from cancer in 2016, as noted by BBC News.

Costars and collaborators, including series writer J.K. Rowling, reflected on Rickman after his death. "There are no words to express how shocked and devastated I am to hear of Alan Rickman's death," she tweeted. "He was a magnificent actor & a wonderful man." Fellow stars of "Harry Potter," including Daniel Radcliffe, shared their memories of the late actor. "As an actor he was one of the first of the adults ... to treat me like a peer rather than a child," he wrote, as noted by Elite Daily. "I will carry the lessons he taught me for the rest of my life and career."

Robert Hardy (Cornelius Fudge)

The beauty of the "Harry Potter" film series was its ability to bring storied British actors all together on screen, and the films were certainly made better from Robert Hardy's presence. The man who brought Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge to life, Hardy was a treasure of British cinema and stage, who died in 2017 at the age of 91. 

As noted by the Observer, Hardy had a career in acting that spanned 70 years, but was remembered by his family as a man with many interests, talents, and loving traits. "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," his children wrote in a statement after his death. "Gruff, elegant, twinkly, and always dignified, he is celebrated by all who knew him and loved him." 

Chris Rankin, the actor who played Percy Weasley, posted his thoughts about Hardy's passing on Twitter shortly after his death. "BBC news tells me Robert Hardy, the Minister of Magic has died," he wrote. "Terribly sad. He was a very kind man who told wonderful stories. xx."

Roger Lloyd-Pack (Barty Crouch)

The "Harry Potter" films included a number of cameo appearances, including those by Roger Lloyd-Pack. Lloyd-Pack portrayed Barty Crouch, the high-ranking wizarding official in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" (r.i.p. Cedric Diggory), and, sadly, the actor died from cancer in 2014 while surrounded by his family. As noted by BBC News, Lloyd-Pack was best known for his role as Trigger in the British sitcom "Only Fools and Horses" and as Owen Newitt in the comedy series "The Vicar of Dibley."

Lloyd-Pack's fellow actors remembered him as a kind, quiet soul. "Although he played the simple soul of Trigger in "Only Fools and Horses," he was a very intelligent man and a very fine actor capable of many roles," said Sir David Jason, Lloyd-Pack's co-star. "I shall remember him with fondness and for all the good times we had together." And like "Harry Potter," Lloyd-Pack himself was a huge part of British culture. The BBC's Shane Allen said that in the wake of Lloyd-Pack's passing, "the nation bids a fond and sad farewell to one of the most popular television sitcom actors of his generation."

David Ryall (Elphias Doge)

Elphias Doge was not only a member of the Order of the Phoenix, not only a jurist for the Ministry of Magic, not only a friend of Dumbledore's, but his obituary of the great wizard served as a major conversation piece between himself and Harry Potter in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." He was, without question, an important figure in the wizarding world, brought to the screen by actor David Ryall, who sadly died on Christmas Day, 2014, at the age of 79.

As noted by BBC News, Ryall's untimely death took place on the holiday, but no other information was given about the circumstances. While he was best known for playing Elphias Doge, Ryall's career in television, film, and theater spanned more than five decades. "The great David Ryall left us on Christmas Day," Mark Gatiss, a director who worked with Ryall in 2013, tweeted after his death. "A twinkling, brilliant, wonderful actor I was privileged to call a friend."

Timothy Bateson (Kreacher)

House elves are important figures in the "Harry Potter" series — they always seem to know everything and are incredibly loyal — and we can all agree one of the elves who made the biggest impact on the series was Kreacher, who (after Sirius Black's death) served Harry Potter himself. Kreacher was voiced by the legendary British actor Timothy Bateson, who sadly died in 2009. As noted by The Guardian, Bateson was known for his roles in films including "All or Nothing," "Oliver Twist," and "Waiting for Godot." He was also a star of the stage, who performed in a number of musicals, dramas, and comedies in London's West End theater district.

Kreacher's impact on the "Harry Potter" series can be summed up in this quote, which Dumbledore once said about the house elf: "Kreacher is what he has been made by wizards, Harry. Yes, he is to be pitied. ... He was forced to do Sirius's bidding ... And whatever Kreacher's faults, it must be admitted that Sirius did nothing to make Kreacher's lot easier." Note to self: Treat your house elves with the respect they deserve.

Rob Knox (Marcus Belby)

This death within the "Harry Potter" film franchise is just tragic: At the young age of 18, actor Rob Knox — who played Marcus Belby — was fatally stabbed in South East London in 2008. As noted by The Guardian, Knox was killed by 22-year-old Karl Bishop outside a club. Bishop seriously injured four friends who were accompanying Knox at the time, one left with permanent spine damage.

Bishop was sentenced to life in prison for the act, but the tragedy left a huge hole in the "Harry Potter" world and beyond. Just a handful of days before his death, Knox had wrapped filming "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" — the film's premiere would later be dedicated to him. The director of the film, David Yates, reflected on Knox's tragic death. "You are surrounded by young people all day long who bring a great commitment to what they do, and Rob was no different," Yates said, as noted by The Guardian. "He came in and wanted to do brilliant work, he put his heart and soul into it, and you just think 'what a terrible waste.'"

Hazel Douglas (Bathilda Bagshot)

There are a couple moments within the "Harry Potter" film series that leave absolute chills down our spines, one being the scene where Harry and Hermione walk through the cemetery in Godric's Hollow in pursuit of Horcruxes — the moody lighting, the gravestones, and, of course, the looking figure in the background that turns out to be wizarding historian Bathilda Bagshot. The character was brought to life on screen by storied actress Hazel Douglas, who sadly died in 2016. 

As noted by the International Business Times, Douglas found career success as an actress later on in life. She first appeared on television all the way back in 1947 in the TV movie "Trilby," but it was her role as Bathilda Bagshot that brought her to the main stage (so to speak). Of course, Bathilda Bagshot was killed, and her body was used by Lord Voldemort to try and kill both Harry and Hermione, but we'll just skip over those gory details for now.

Dave Legeno (Fenrir Greyback)

This death really is just tragic: Dave Legeno, who played the werewolf Fenrir Greyback in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" and in both "Deathly Hallows" films, sadly died at the young age of 50 in 2014. As noted by The Hollywood Reporter, Legeno died from "heat related issues" after hiking in Death Valley, California. Two hikers came across his body days after his death, and given the remoteness of the area, Legeno's remains had to be collected and removed via a helicopter. 

The Inyo County Sheriff's Dispatch issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter in the wake of his death, saying that the people who reported the body were not involved with Legeno, and a helicopter was used to not only "[provide] transportation of the body," but to "insert" a sheriff's deputy into the area. "The remains have been identified as David Legeno, a 50-year-old United Kingdom man," the statement concluded. "There are no signs of foul play." This is a reminder that Death Valley temperatures can get up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, so proceed with caution.

Eric Sykes (Frank Bryce)

The role of caretaker Frank Bryce may have been a more minor role in the "Harry Potter" films, but the role was played by one of Britain's most-beloved comedic actors, Eric Sykes. As noted by BBC News, Sykes was adored, making his death in 2012 that much more sad. His manager, Norma Farnes, broke the news. "Eric Sykes, 89, star of TV, stage and films, died peacefully this morning after a short illness," she said. "His family were with him." 

Tributes to Sykes started to pour in after his death. These included praises from legendary entertainer Bruce Forsyth, who called Sykes "one of the greats of comedy in this country," adding that "he was universally loved here. He was just one of the funniest men ever." 

Of course, Sykes' role in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" – the best movie of the franchise in our opinion — was not a comedic performance, but, in hindsight, his famous line is one of the funniest in the film's script: "Bloody kids!"

Helen McCrory (Narcissa Malfoy)

News broke on April 16, 2021 that Helen McCrory — the actress who brought Narcissa Malfoy to the screen in the "Harry Potter" film series — died after fighting cancer. She was 52. As noted by BBC News, McCrory was best known for her work in the wizarding world, as well as her portrayal of Polly Gray in the television series "Peaky Blinders." Her husband, actor Damian Lewis, announced her death on Twitter

"She died as she lived. Fearlessly. God we love her and we know how lucky we are to have had her in our lives," he wrote. "She blazed so brightly." Tributes started pouring in, ranging from the "Peaky Blinders" Twitter account to the account for "Doctor Who," a show on which she'd guest-starred, all praising her work as an actress and as a friend. The official Twitter account of "Harry Potter" and "Fantastic Beasts," the Wizarding World, released its own statement after McCrory's death was announced, saying that she had brought "depth and brilliance" to her portrayal of Narcissa Malfoy. 

"She was a wonderful actor and a very dear friend," the tweet read. "Harry Potter fans will miss her very much."

Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid)

Harry's first true parental figure and source of unconditional love came in the form of a gentle giant named Rubeus Hagrid, keeper of keys and grounds at Hogwarts. Hagrid rescued Harry from the vice-like grip of the Dursleys and introduced Harry to the wizarding world, where he rightly belonged. Both Harry and fans felt a sense of instant protection whenever Hagrid was around. To quote Harry, "there's no Hogwarts without you, Hagrid."

Actor Robbie Coltrane passed away on October 14, 2022 in a hospital in his home country of Scotland, his agent Belinda Wright shared with the world (per the BBC). While many of the details of his health were kept private, it was known that Coltrane was battling an illness for some time. "I was beyond fortunate to know him," author J.K Rowling shared on her social media. Earlier in the year, Coltrane reflected on the legacy that "Harry Potter" has left in HBO's documentary "Return to Hogwarts": "You could be watching in 50 years' time. I'll not be here, sadly, but Hagrid will" (via Vanity Fair). 

Jimmy Gardner (Ernie the Knight Bus driver)

Ernie, the erratic Knight Bus driver, nearly runs over Harry when he picks him up along the suburbs of Privet Drive. As though Harry needed yet another reason to fear for his life, he braces for impact as Ernie carelessly whizzes through the streets of London while en route to The Leaky Cauldron. Nearly missing lamp posts and nearby cars, Ernie continuously startles Harry with his erratic driving, with his talking head violently swinging back and forth from the driver's mirror.

While Jimmy Gardner's role in "Harry Potter" was small, it was as unforgettable as the reckless bus ride itself. Gardner passed away on May 3, 2010 at the age of 85. With a career spanning over half a century, Gardner made his mark in both theater and screen. Though he always knew he wanted to be an actor, one of his most notable roles was as far removed from acting as possible — serving in WWII as a rear-gunner flyer in 1942, according to his obituary, per The Guardian.

Paul Ritter (Eldred Worple)

Eldred Worple is a wizard and writer, whom book readers may recall proposed that he'd write Harry's biography, promising profitable potential. Uninterested in money or fame, Harry turns his offer down. He can be seen in "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" in Professor Slughorn's exclusive club for his favorite students, both past and present.

Actor Paul Ritter passed away on April 5, 2021 after a long battle with brain cancer. His agent released a statement, citing he passed away in his home surrounded by his family, per The Guardian. "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," his agent shared. Ritter's acting credits included award-winning theater performances and a role in the critically acclaimed HBO limited series "Chernobyl." His other film credits include the James Bond film "Quantum of Solace."

Terence Bayler (The Bloody Baron)

The Bloody Baron is one of the four founding ghosts of Hogwarts. Sorted into Slytherin during his time as a student, his ghost roams the halls of Hogwarts. While he was alive, he sought out the love of Helena Ravenclaw — founder Rowena Ravenclaw's daughter and ghost of Ravenclaw. When she did not return his love, he killed her in a rage. Her blood stains remained on his garments, thus the nickname "Bloody Baron."

New Zealand actor Terence Bayler passed away on August 2, 2016. A professional actor all his life, he garnered multiple well-known roles both on screen and on the stage. One of his most notable roles include his work in Monty Python. His other film credits include his role as Macduff in Roman Polanski's 1970 adaptation of Shakespeare's "Macbeth," according to his official obituary, per The Guardian. His legacy lives on through his wife Valerie, and children from his first marriage.