Paul Ritter, ‘Chernobyl’ and ‘Harry Potter’ Actor, Dies at 54

“Quantum of Solace” actor died of a brain tumor

Paul Ritter
Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

Paul Ritter, a British actor best known to American audiences for his roles in HBO’s “Chernobyl” and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” has died of a brain tumor. He was 54.

Representatives for Ritter, whose other notable credits include starring on U.K. series “Friday Night Dinner” and appearing in the James Bond film “Quantum of Solace,” confirmed his death to TheWrap Tuesday.

“It is with great sadness we can confirm that Paul Ritter passed away last night,” Ritter’s agent said in a statement. “He died peacefully at home with his wife Polly and sons Frank and Noah by his side. He was 54 and had been suffering from a brain tumor. 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.”

“We are so saddened to hear of the loss of one of our favourite actors Paul Ritter. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues,” tweeted Channel 4, which airs the sitcom “Friday Night Dinner,” on which Ritter played the patriarch of a British Jewish family.

Ritter also had the role of nuclear engineer Anatoly Dyatlov on HBO’s miniseries “Chernobyl.” On the film side, he played the wizard Eldred Worple in “Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince” and a villain in the 2008 Daniel Craig-led “Quantum of Solace.”

No stranger to the theater, Ritter appeared in productions of “All My Sons,” “Coram Boy” and “The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time” at the National Theatre in Britain, “Art” at London’s Old Vic, and “The Audience” on the West End, in which he played Prime Minister John Major opposite Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II. He was nominated in 2009 for a Tony Award for his role Alan Ayckbourn’s Broadway production of “The Norman Conquests.”


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