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Coltrane, Robbie Biography




biography of Coltrane, Robbie

Anthony Robert McMillan
30 March 1950, Rutherglen, Scotland, UK
6' 1"
Robbie Coltrane, one of Britain's most popular comedians who was head of debating society at school and won prizes for his art, is now a film star who played in two James Bond films and in the "Harry Potter" franchise. He was born Anthony Robert McMillan on March 30, 1950, in Rutherglen, a suburb of Glasgow, Scotland, UK. His father, Ian McMillan, was a general surgeon who also worked for police pathology. His mother, Jean, was a teacher and a pianist. Young Robbie was fond of art, music, films and cars. He was a voracious reader of his dad's books on medicine and crime. At age 12 he made his acting debut on stage at Glenalmond College, delivering rants from "Henry V". At that time he was fascinated with 'Marlon Brando' (qv) and 'Orson Welles' (qv). He attended Glasgow Art School, majoring in drawing, painting and film, then studied art at Edinburgh's Moray House College of Education for a year. In 1973 he made a documentary titled "Young Mental Health", which was voted Film Of The Year by the Scottish Education Council. At that time Robbie took the name Coltrane, due to his love of jazz, and began a career of a stand-up comedian at night clubs, at the Edinburgh Festival, as well as an actor with Edinburgh's renowned Traverse Theatre. In 1980 Coltrane made his debut on television as "Border Guard" in BBC's mini-series _"The Lost Tribe" (1980)_ (qv), then made his big screen debut as a limousine driver in _La mort en direct (1980)_ (qv). In 1981 he appeared in his first leading role as Detective Fritz Langley in _Subway Riders (1981)_ (qv), by famed underground director 'Amos Poe' (qv). He became a well-known face through appearances in The Comic Strip series, then in _"Alfresco" (1983)_ (qv) and Comic Strip movies _The Supergrass (1985)_ (qv) and _The Pope Must Die (1991)_ (qv), among other films. At that time Coltrane had a drinking problem, downing as much as a bottle of whiskey a day. In 1986 he flew to a clinic in Mexico and was treated for obesity. In 1987 his partner for 15 years, Paine, left him for good, leaving her portrait in Coltrane's barn. In 1988 Coltrane met then 18-year-old Rhona Gemmell in a pub. They married and had a son, Spencer, and a daughter, Alice. His career took off during the early 1990s with the leading role as Dr. Eddie "Fitz" Fitzgerald, a forensic psychologist, in the popular TV series _"Cracker" (1993)_ (qv). He made such a good performance as Valentin Zukovsky, a KGB man turned St. Petersburg mafia lord, in _GoldenEye (1995)_ (qv) the producers called him back for the same character in _The World Is Not Enough (1999)_ (qv). Then Coltrane hit another lucrative franchise; he was personally selected by 'J.K. Rowling' (qv) as her choice to play half-giant Rubeus Hagrid in the 'Harry Potter' films. In early 1990s Coltrane wrote an autobiography, "Coltrane in a Cadillac", and also starred in the eponymous TV series, _"Coltrane in a Cadillac" (1993)_ (qv), in which he indulges his passion for vintage cars and tells with great humor about his 4000-mile journey across America from Los Angeles to New York. In 2003 he separated from his wife. His interests outside of his acting profession has been reading books, and rebuilding and collecting vintage cars. Robbie Coltrane resides in a converted farmhouse in Stirlingshire, Scotland, UK.
Steve Shelokhonov



-   'Rhona Gemmell' (11 December 1999 - present) (separated); 2 children


-   Son born c. 1992; daughter born c. 1998

-   Graduated from the Glasgow School of Art where he majored in drawing, painting and film.

-   Has two children: Alice and Spencer.

-   Frequently plays giants and has to wear padding, lifts, and has to be shot from below, in such film as the "Harry Potter" series, where he played "Hagrid", and in _Van Helsing (2004)_ (qv), where he was generated into a computer to play a bear-sized "Mr. Hyde".

-   Has appeared in eight films opposite a former member of Monty Python's Flying Circus. His cast mate in _Nuns on the Run (1990)_ (qv) and _European Vacation (1985)_ (qv) was 'Eric Idle' (qv). He appeared in _The World Is Not Enough (1999)_ (qv), _Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)_ (qv), and _Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)_ (qv), all of which also starred 'John Cleese' (qv). He also appeared in _Billy Connolly: A BAFTA Tribute (2002) (TV)_ (qv), _A Night of Comic Relief 2 (1989) (TV)_ (qv) and _The Secret Policeman's Biggest Ball (1989) (TV)_ (qv), all of which featured 'Michael Palin' (qv).

-   Only took the role of Hagrid in the Harry Potter series after his children urged him to do so.

-   He was awarded the O.B.E. (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2006 New Year's Honours List for his services to drama.

-   Attended the world renowned Scottish boarding school, Glenalmond College, in Perthshire, Scotland.

-   Though he says he took his stage name from musician 'John Coltrane' (qv), his name is actually closer to that of John's son, Ravi Coltrane.

-   Was the very first person to be cast in _Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)_ (qv). In fact, he was selected for the role of Hagrid by Harry Potter author 'J.K. Rowling' (qv).

-   Was asked to play Takis in Doctor Who: Revelation of The Daleks. Trevor Cooper won the role.


-   (1991) TV commercial: Persil

-   (5/3/07) Appeared as a guest conductor for the Grimethorpe Colliery Band at the Wakefield Theatre Royal.

-   (2011) Music video: Appeared in 'Kate Bush' (qv)'s "Deeper Understanding" video.

-   (1980) Stage: Appeared in 'Jonathan Bolt' (qv)'s play, "Threads," at the Hamstead Theatre in Hamstead, London, England, with Phyllis Logan, Mark Windsor and Pat Doyle in the cast. Robin Lefevre was director.


-   In real life, I'm 6' 1" - each way pretty well, north and south and east and west, unfortunately.

-   Once you've been doing anything for twenty-five years people start to notice you. What was really nice about the OBE is that it's the first award where I didn't have to make a speech and I didn't have to sit there waiting to see if I'd won - I knew I was going to get it.


-   "The Independent" (UK), 22 April 2003, by: James Rampton, "Blues for Coltrane?"

-   "The Daily Telegraph" (UK), 20 March 2003, by: Maureen Paton, "'Hagrid? I'm just Dad'"

-   "Video Eyeball" (USA), 1996, Vol. 2, Iss. 6, pg. 37-38, by: Paul Sherman, "Wise Cracker Robbie Coltrane"

-   "Radio Times" (UK), 31 March 1990, pg. 77, by: Stuart Cosgrove, "Nothing sacred"


-   "Showbiz uncovered" (UK), 18 November 2001, pg. 16, by: Nick Appleyard, "Big Robbie's giant Harry role was always gonna be a cracker"

-   "Entertainment Weekly" (USA), 26 October 2001, Vol. 1, Iss. 622, pg. 27, by: Daniel Fierman, "Tremendous Talent"

-   "TV Guide" (USA), 3 August 1996, Vol. 44, Iss. 31, pg. 30-32, by: James Kaplan, "Cracker's Crackerjack Crime Solver"

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