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Harry Potter Cast Members You May Not Know Passed Away

After the original series of "Harry Potter" novels started topping bestsellers' lists in the late 1990s, a film franchise was pretty much an inevitability. The first movie, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (known as "Philosopher's Stone" in markets outside of North America), was released in 2001, leading to a decade-long "Potter" marathon at theaters and box offices across the globe.

With child stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint leading the films as Harry himself and his two best friends Ron and Hermione, the younger actors in the "Potter" franchise were supported by some of England's finest actors, including Dame Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbent, Emma Thompson, and more. However, during and since the ten-year run of the "Harry Potter" film franchise, some members of the cast unfortunately passed away; and no matter whether these actors left fans behind during the franchise or after it had concluded, these losses still left "Potter" fans devastated. From Potions masters to Ministry officials to magical creatures, here's a list of "Harry Potter" cast members you may not know passed away.

Alan Rickman

As soon as Harry Potter arrives at his new home at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he meets his professors, immediately clashing with the school's Potions master, Severus Snape. Throughout the series, Snape unfairly antagonizes Harry and his friends, deducting points over small mistakes and squabbles and favoring students from Slytherin House (for which he serves as the head), and the pair's animosity only gets worse when Snape is forced to try to teach Harry the art of Occlumency, which could help Harry block his mind against Voldemort. However, as it turns out, Snape was helping Harry all along; as a childhood friend of Harry's mother Lily, Snape was always in love with her, and became a triple agent between Voldemort and Harry while constantly risking his life.

Alan Rickman was the perfect choice to play the mysterious and enigmatic Snape, who turns out to be one of the series' most complex characters. Rickman brought this character to life, becoming a beloved figure to millions of "Potter" fans, which makes his untimely passing that much harder. In 2016, Rickman died of pancreatic cancer, and fans, fellow actors, and co-stars alike paid their tributes, from heartfelt messages to shrines at important "Potter"-related sites.

Richard Harris

The role of Albus Dumbledore, Harry's wizened, caring mentor throughout the series, required an actor with enough gravitas and heart to bring this part to life, and for the first two "Harry Potter" films, Richard Harris played the character to absolute perfection. A gentle giant whose kindness is never diminished by his incredible power, Dumbledore serves as Harry's makeshift father figure and personal teacher, sharing his boundless wisdom with Harry as he gets older. However, when Dumbledore is apparently murdered at the end of the sixth installment, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," Harry must go it alone, armed only with the lessons Dumbledore taught him along the way as he sets out to defeat Voldemort.

Dumbledore doesn't lose his life until the sixth film, but unfortunately, audiences lost the first Dumbledore after only the second installment. After making two "Potter" films, Harris was diagnosed with Hodgkins' disease in 2002, and after he was hospitalized with pneumonia, he passed away in a London hospital. Michael Gambon moved forward with the role of Dumbledore, but Harris' legacy lives on through his sons — one of whom is the acclaimed actor Jared Harris, who has appeared in shows like "Mad Men" and "Chernobyl."

Richard Griffiths

Harry Potter faces plenty of hardship throughout his life, and in his pre-Hogwarts years, most of that turmoil is caused by the Dursleys, a trio of extended family members with whom Harry spends an incredibly unhappy childhood. After his parents are killed by Voldemort, Harry must live with his mother's sister, Petunia, her awful husband Vernon, and their dreadful son Dudley, all of whom hate Harry for his magical ability and make his life as miserable as possible. Despite the fact that Harry and the Dursleys hate each other equally, Harry must return to their house every summer when Hogwarts is on break, making them important characters in the story.

As such, when it came time to cast the Dursleys, producers saw fit to cast Fiona Shaw and Richard Griffiths, two titans of the British stage and screen, as Petunia and Vernon, respectively. Griffiths, in addition to working on the "Potter" films, even teamed up with Daniel Radcliffe to appear onstage in "Equus" from 2007 to 2009 on both London's West End and Broadway, but unfortunately, their working relationship was cut too short far too soon. Griffiths died of complications from heart surgery in 2013. After losing his friend and co-star, Radcliffe led a touching tribute to the legendary actor, saying he was "proud" to say he knew him.

John Hurt

Plenty of legendary actors appeared in the "Harry Potter" film series, and few were more well-renowned than John Hurt. As Harry goes shopping in Diagon Alley, he meets the mysterious, enigmatic Ollivander, the man who provides wands to the entire magical community and tells him an important secret about his own wand. Thanks to a magical bond between Harry and Voldemort, the wand that has chosen the young wizard shares a core with Voldemort's, creating a lifelong connection. Later, Ollivander must help Harry uncover the secrets of the Elder Wand in order to stop Voldemort once and for all.

Hurt played Ollivander in a handful of "Potter" films, including the first and last, but you might also recognize this stalwart actor from "Alien," "Midnight Express," "Hellboy," "V for Vendetta," "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," a short stint as the War Doctor on "Doctor Who," and more. Hurt became a Knight of the Order of the British Empire in 2015 for services to drama, but sadly, he passed away only a few years later in 2017 from complications from pancreatic cancer.

Rik Mayall

Harry's time at Hogwarts might have been dangerous most of the time, but it was also rife with whimsy and mischief, mostly thanks to the school's resident poltergeist, Peeves. Though Hogwarts is home to plenty of friendly and well-meaning ghosts, like Nearly-Headless Nick (the ghost of Gryffindor), Peeves spends the entirety of his existence antagonizing students and faculty alike, as well as playing inconvenient pranks. Unfortunately, despite how entertaining Peeves' exploits would have been onscreen, his scenes were ultimately cut from the film franchise.

Though Peeves never made it to the big screen, the producers did hire an extraordinarily funny actor to play him: Rik Mayall, who filmed several scenes as the poltergeist. Mayall, a British comedic actor known for roles in "Blackadder," "The New Statesman," and "Believe Nothing," among other shows, died at the age of 56 in 2014 after a sudden heart attack while jogging. "Potter" fans can only hope that Warner Bros. might honor Mayall's memory by finally releasing his deleted scenes.

Derek Deadman

After Harry is officially introduced to the magical world by Rubeus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane), his first official entry into wizardry is when Hagrid takes him to Diagon Alley, the magical street where witches and wizards can buy all of the supplies they need for spells, potion-making, and more. In an otherwise non-descript Muggle street in London, Harry discovers the Leaky Cauldron — a pub that seems to go totally unnoticed by any non-magical folk — and in the backyard, wizards can gain entry into Diagon Alley by tapping one specific brick in a wall. As the bartender of the Leaky Cauldron, Tom is one of the series' most important background characters.

Tom only appeared briefly in the film series, but in the first film, he was played by British actor Derek Deadman. Throughout his career, Deadman appeared in high-profile projects like "Brazil," "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves," "National Lampoon's European Vacation," the "Doctor Who" serial "The Invasion of Time," and the Bond film "Never Say Never Again," among others. Deadman passed away in 2014 at the age of 74 from complications from diabetes, leaving the Leaky Cauldron permanently unmanned.

Dave Legeno

Of course, the world of "Harry Potter" isn't all heroes: Voldemort has plenty of bad guys under his thumb, one of whom is the dangerous werewolf Fenrir Greyback. A ruthless and hungry monster, Greyback bites for fun to create a new army of werewolves, and as a sort of half-man, he finds refuge in Voldemort's army of cruel misfits. During "Half-Blood Prince," Greyback attacks the eldest Weasley son, Bill (played by future "Star Wars" star Domhnall Gleeson), dealing a fatal blow to Harry and his loved ones. Greyback lasts until the final battle in "Deathly Hallows: Part 2," but ultimately, he's taken down by the good guys.

Greyback required a particularly imposing actor, and Dave Legeno was up to the task. A trained mixed martial artist proficient in everything from muay thai to judo to boxing to Brazilian ju-jitsu. Legeno passed away in 2014 during a hike in Death Valley; when his body was discovered, it was determined that he passed away from heat-related issues.

Roger Lloyd Pack

In the franchise's fourth installment, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," Harry finds himself faced with an entirely new challenge; after his name is somehow placed in the champion-choosing Goblet of Fire for a multi-school Triwizard Tournament, Harry must compete, much to everyone's chagrin. Throughout the tournament, he encounters plenty of Ministry officials, including Barty Crouch Sr., a strict, high-ranking Ministry director overseeing the day to day operations of the tournament. However, what Harry learns later about Crouch is that he has a tragic past — his son, Barty Crouch Jr. (played in the film by David Tennant), was previously arrested with a group of Death Eaters, and has returned with Voldemort's help to exact revenge upon his father.

Since Barty Crouch Sr. is such an established member of the Ministry, it stands to reason that a venerated actor like Roger Lloyd Pack would be the one to play him. Pack also appeared alongside Tennant in "Doctor Who" episodes as villain John Lumic in multiple episodes, and worked extensively on British television before he passed away due to pancreatic cancer in 2014.

Timothy Bateson

When it comes to magical creatures in the "Harry Potter" universe, few are more mysterious than house elves, which are genetically engineered to do a wizard's bidding once a bond exists between the two. However, Harry ends up with much more than he bargained for when he ends up owning Kreacher, a surly house elf who once belonged to his late godfather, Sirius Black (Gary Oldman). After Sirius' death, Harry inherited ownership of Kreacher, and though the two want nothing to do with each other at first, Harry eventually wins Kreacher over and inspires him to fight against Voldemort's forces.

Kreacher was an entirely computer-generated character from a visual perspective, but he was voiced by Timothy Bateson, an established British voice actor. Voicing Kreacher in the fifth movie, "Order of the Phoenix," was Bateson's last role before he passed away in 2009; for the rest of the series, Kreacher was voiced by Simon McBurney.

Verne Troyer

As Harry enters Diagon Alley for the first time, one of his first stops is Gringotts, the vast wizarding bank that holds some of the magical world's most closely held treasures and secrets. Just to add to its mystique, Gringotts is guarded by goblins, which are easily the most secretive and cryptic magical creatures in Harry's world, and one of the first goblins Harry meets is Griphook, who leads him down into Gringotts' dark and well-guarded vaults.

Though Griphook returns in later films, he's played by a different actor as the series continues; in the first movie, Verne Troyer portrays the prominent goblin. Troyer has a fairly extensive film and television resumé, but most people likely know him best as Mini-Me to Mike Myers' Dr. Evil in the "Austin Powers" franchise. Troyer passed away in 2018 from alcohol poisoning, which was ruled a suicide; however, his performances in everything from "Harry Potter" to "Austin Powers" will live on forever.

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).

Elizabeth Spriggs

When Harry arrives at Hogwarts, the magic within the school is unbelievable to him on every level. Food appears on tables as if by magic, he can wave a wand and make anything happen, the staircases change frequently, and in an unnerving twist, the paintings on the walls move and talk. In the magical world, when a portrait is painted of a deceased witch or wizard, a part of their consciousness lives on in their painting, which allows everyone from past headmasters of Hogwarts to loved ones to continue communicating with the living long after they've passed away.

One of those paintings, the Fat Lady, is in charge of guarding the entrance to Gryffindor Tower, and in the films, she was played by British actress Elizabeth Spriggs. A Shakespearean actress who appeared in plays like "Romeo and Juliet," "Hamlet," and "Much Ado About Nothing" with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Spriggs also earned a BAFTA nomination for the 1995 adaptation of "Sense and Sensibility" (which starred her future "Potter" co-stars Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson) before appearing in the "Potter" films. However, she only made an appearance in the first film before her untimely death in 2008. Dawn French replaced Spriggs as the Fat Lady, popping up in 2004's "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban."

Paul Ritter

There are plenty of colorful characters in the wizarding world, and not all of them get a ton of screen time. One such character is Eldred Worple (Paul Ritter), a wizard and a writer who, during Professor Slughorn's (Jim Broadbent) extravagant Christmas party in "Half-Blood Prince," tells Harry that he would be honored to pen the biography of Boy who Lived. Harry doesn't take him up on the offer, and Eldred isn't seen in any of the other films.

It says a lot about the influence and success of the "Potter" films that, even for such a small role, the franchise was able to score Paul Ritter for the part. Known for roles in films like the 2008 Bond film "Quantum of Solace" and television projects like "Friday Night Dinner," "Vera," "Lovesick," and "Chernobyl." Ritter was a venerated actor — and fans mourned losing the star in April of 2021, when he passed away due to complications from a brain tumor while surrounded by friends and family. Hopefully, a real-life Eldred Worple will come along to write Ritter's story someday.

Helen McCrory

As the matriarch of the wealthy and imperious Malfoy family, Narcissa Malfoy — as played by "Peaky Blinders" actress Helen McCrory — didn't have the largest physical presence in the "Harry Potter" films, but she was a vital character nonetheless. Despite outwardly supporting Voldemort and his cronies, including her Death Eater husband Lucious (Jason Isaacs), Narcissa only has one concern: the welfare of her beloved only son, Draco (Tom Felton). Ultimately, when she's asked to confirm that a very-much-alive Harry is dead after Voldemort tries to vanquish him forever, she lies to her master in exchange for information about Draco's whereabouts in the battle, proving that her love for her son comes first no matter what.

Sadly, the woman who brought Narcissa to life passed away in April of 2021 due to complications from cancer, as was confirmed by her husband, fellow actor Damian Lewis ("Homeland," "Billions") on Twitter. At just fifty-two years old, McCrory undoubtedly still had a great career ahead of her only to have her life cut short, but "Potter" fans will always remember her scene-stealing turn as Narcissa.

Robbie Coltrane

In both the "Harry Potter" books and the subsequent film series, the first character from the wizarding world who audiences meet is Rubeus Hagrid, a gentle giant (half-giant, technically) who strikes quite the image. He also sets a tone for the whole franchise, arriving outside the home of the orphaned baby Harry in the middle of the night on a flying motorcycle, a friendly hulk with a signature long beard and mess of hair. Through Harry's entire tenure at Hogwarts, Hagrid is an ally for the young chosen one and his close friends, serving as the institution's keeper of magical beasts while reliably filling the role of a loyal friend and trusted adult.

According to NPR, "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling's first choice to portray Hagrid was Scottish actor Robbie Coltrane, and she got her wish. Previously best known for an extensive resume as a character actor in British films and TV shows, not to mention his three BAFTA TV awards for the stark crime series "Cracker," Coltrane played Hagrid in all eight "Harry Potter" movies, as well as various video game and theme park spinoffs.

On October 14, 2022, Coltrane died at a hospital in Scotland, the actor's agent told Deadline, following a two-year period of poor health. He was 72.

Leslie Phillips

When Harry arrives at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he's subjected to a bit of housekeeping that will define his entire tenure at the school. Hogwarts is divided into four houses, grouping students by their interests, personality traits, and abilities: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin. They get their assignment at the very beginning of year one, by placing upon their heads an enchanted witch's hat. The Sorting Hat reads their thoughts and, upon making a decision, proclaims a house selection — deeming Harry a member of Gryffindor, for example.

Leslie Phillips never appears on screen in any of the eight "Harry Potter" films, but he provides the playful yet ominous voice of the Sorting Hat in the first and final films in the series. Those are among the last acting roles in the extremely prolific career of Phillips, an English character actor who was usually hired for comedic parts beginning in the 1930s. His most famous work came in the "Carry On" movies, playing various roles in the cheeky series that gently satirized 20th-century English life. On November 7, 2022, according to Deadline, Phillips died in his sleep at the age of 98.

Rob Knox

Marcus Belby appears in only one film in the series, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince." When the Slytherin potions professor Horace Slughorn returns to Hogwarts and tries to sidle up to important students like Harry, he creates an exclusive group called the "Slug Club," for whom he holds dinner parties. One of the invitees is well-connected Ravenclaw upperclassman Marcus Belby, who proves not very interesting to Slughorn.

Rob Knox portrayed Marcus, only his fourth screen role following a bit part in "King Arthur," two episodes of "After You're Gone," and the short film "Employee of the Dead." "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" was Knox's final film performance, and it was released theatrically after he died. According to The Guardian, in May 2008, Knox tried to break up a fight at Metro, a bar in Sidcup, Kent. A friend managed to pin a knife-wielding combatant, and when Knox intervened, the individual stabbed him in the head. Knox was just 18 years old.

Robert Hardy

The de facto ruler of U.K. witches and wizards during the early events of the "Harry Potter" saga is Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic. Largely ineffectual and prone to actively ignoring the warning signs that Voldemort is rising again, he makes a number of serious blunders over the course of the series. He dismisses the threat of pure blood supremacy, doesn't take the dangerous basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets seriously, wrongly imprisons Hogwarts gamekeeper Rubeus Hagrid, and persuades the wizarding newspaper "The Daily Prophet" to discredit Harry Potter and Professor Dumbledore. After Voldemort has completely returned, Fudge realizes his myriad mistakes and shamefully resigns his position of power.

Robert Hardy landed a breakout role in the 1970s as the cranky veterinarian Siegfried in the original, very popular TV series version of "All Creatures Great and Small." In 1981, Hardy won a BAFTA Award for "Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years," one of the many times he played the U.K. prime minister. Towards the end of his career, Hardy played bumbling Cornelius Fudge in four "Harry Potter" films. In August 2017, Hardy's family told the BBC that the actor had died. Hardy was 91.

Hazel Douglas

Bathilda Bagshot was both a pivotal figure in the history of wizardry as well as a tragic victim of its darker elements. A former Hogwarts professor, Bagshot wrote numerous texts, including the book used to teach History of Magic. The great aunt of Dumbledore's friend-turned-enemy Gellert Grindelwald, Bagshot retired in her old age to the village of Godric's Hollow, where she was murdered by Voldemort. To add insult to injury, her corpse was used as a human avatar for his vicious snake Nagini, where she was lying in wait in an attempt to kill Harry Potter.

Hazel Douglas began acting in the very early days of TV in the 1950s, and appeared in shows such as "BBC Sunday-Night Theatre," "Coronation Street," and many others. Douglas's most prominent roles came in her latter years, including her performance as Bathilda Bagshot in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I," and starring opposite Ian McKellen in the series "Vicious." According to the International Business Times, Douglas died in October 2016. She was 92 years old.

Jimmy Gardner

One of the many magical ways wizards and witches can get around is via the Knight Bus, a multi-level, enchanted bus that speeds through the streets of London and forces anything in the way to move quickly or risk being squished. Muggles never seem to notice the Knight Bus nor its driver, Ernie Prang, an elderly wizard who doesn't talk much while he's on the job. Ernie makes a sole appearance in "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban."

Goofy, thickly bespectacled Ernie in "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" was among Jimmy Gardner's last roles before his retirement in 2005. A character actor who specialized in small, supporting parts, Gardner appeared in dozens of British television productions dating back to the 1950s, popping up on "Doctor Who," "Coronation Street," and "The Avengers" in addition to performing onstage at the Royal Shakespeare Company, according to The Guardian. The Independent reported that Jimmy Gardner died on May 3, 2010. The actor was 85 years old.

Terence Bayler

Upon his arrival at Hogwarts, Harry Potter quickly realizes that this school isn't like any other he's ever attended. In keeping with its enchanted, supernatural theme, the place is haunted by a number of (mostly) harmless ghosts. One of them is the Slytherin house spirit, the specter of a mad medieval wizard now known only as The Bloody Baron. Once in love with Hogwarts co-founder Helena Ravenclaw, his feelings went unrequited and he murdered her. Wracked with grief and guilt, he stabbed himself with the murder weapon, and is cursed to wander Hogwarts covered in the blood of both Ravenclaw and himself, hence his nickname. The Bloody Baron makes a prominent cameo appearance in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."

The Bloody Baron is one of many zany, over-the-top roles for Terence Bayler, a comic actor from New Zealand best known for his work in productions from the members of Monty Python. He played Gregory in "Monty Python's Life of Brian," Leggy Mountbatten in Eric Idle's "The Rutles: All You Need is Cash," in addition to appearing in Terry Gilliam's "Time Bandits" and "Brazil." In September 2016, The Guardian reported that the actor had died in early August. Bayler was 86.