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Legendary actor Robert Hardy has sadly passed away today at the age of 91. Hardy's career in stage, television and film lasted more than 70 years, and Hardy became well-known for his roles in All Creatures Great and Small and as the Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge, in the Harry Potter universe.
A statement was released by his children, Emma, Justine and Paul on August 3 announcing Hardy's death. Part of the statement read:
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. He was an essential part of the team that raised the great Tudor warship The Mary Rose.
Hardy's Wonderful Career
Hardy was born in Cheltenham in 1925 and was educated at Rugby School, Magdalen College and Oxford University before his studies were interrupted by service in the Royal Air Force. Following his service in the RAF, Hardy returned to his studies and achieved a degree in English.
His acting career began in 1959, where he performed in Shakespeare's Coriolanus, starring opposite Laurence Olivier. In 1966, Hardy found his big TV breakout as played a businessman named Alec Stewart in the award-winning BBC Drama, The Troubleshooters.
A Former Onscreen Prime Minster And President
Hardy's role as Churchill in Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years back in 1981 won him a BAFTA for his stunning performance. The iconic actor read out Churchill's famous wartime address in 2010 as part of the 70th anniversary celebrations of the speech, bringing the timeliness line "never was so much owed by so many to so few" to life.
Hardy was greatly recognized for taking on the role as Britain's former Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, as well as US President Franklin D. Roosevelt on a number of occasions.
However, Hardy is best known for his role as Cornelius Fudge, who starred in four of the eight #HarryPotter films, briefly appearing in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. His final appearance in the fantasy franchise happened in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Hardy's performance proved to be a hit, and he quickly became a fan favorite.
Chris Rankin, who played Percy Weasley in the Harry Potter films said Hardy was "a very kind man who told wonderful stories."