Robert Hardy (1925 - 2017)

Robert Hardy, the English actor who played Cornelius Fudge in several “Harry Potter” films, died Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, in Bristol, England, according to multiple news sources including the BBC. He was 91.

Hardy played Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge in four films: “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” (2002), “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (2004), “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” (2005), and “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” (2007).

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Hardy was born Timothy Sydney Robert Hardy Oct. 29, 1925, in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. He served in the Royal Air Force shortly after beginning his education at Oxford University. After his service, he went back to Oxford to finish his undergraduate studies. While at Oxford, two of his teachers were the writers C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

He started acting in 1959, performing classical roles in Shakespeare plays. He had many television credits as well; TV roles included the businessman Alec Stewart in “The Troubleshooters,” an award-winning BBC series, from 1966 until 1970.

Hardy played the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in “Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years” (1981), and won a BAFTA award, the British equivalent of the Oscar. He would go on to play the famous leader several more times.

In a 2015 article for the Daily Mail, Hardy said playing Churchill was the greatest challenge of his acting career.

“To prepare,” he wrote, “I spent nine months listening - morning, afternoon and evening - to 24 double-sided long playing records of all the speeches he’d made. By the end of those nine months I could tell which of the recordings Churchill had made before lunch, and which he’d made after!”

Hardy also played U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the BBC serial “Bertie and Elizabeth.”

In all, Hardy had more than 130 acting credits during his long film and TV career.  He played headmaster roles in the films “Young Winston” (1972) and “A Feast at Midnight” (1994). Other films included “Sense and Sensibility” (1995), “The Barber of Siberia” (1998), and “An Ideal Husband” (1998).

In 1981, he was appointed a commander of the Order of the British Empire during Queen Elizabeth II's birthday celebration.

His first marriage, in 1952, was to Elizabeth Fox; they divorced in 1956. He married Sally Pearson in 1961; that marriage also ended in divorce, in 1986. He is survived by a son, Paul Hardy, from his first marriage, and by two daughters from his second marriage, Justine and Emma Hardy.

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