The revered British actor had a fantastic career in theatre, television and film and became known across the globe in recent years for playing Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge in Warners Bros’ the wizarding franchise.
Hardy also was beloved to British TV audiences for his portrayal as senior veterinarian Siegfried Farnon in the long-running BBC One show ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ from 1978 to 1990. The show became a massive hit and attracted audiences of up to 20 million. Although the original run ended in 1978, the series was revived ten years later after the BBC obtained permission to write new storylines.
News of Hardy’s passing was confirmed in a statement released by his children Emma, Justine and Paul and the trio paid tribute to their dad’s incredible achievements across his 70-year career.
The statement read: “From his early start, post WWII, with the Shakespeare Memorial Company in Stratford, to his later role in the ‘Harry Potter’ films as Cornelius Fudge, The Minister For Magic, it is perhaps the case he will be most remembered for two iconic roles: as Siefried Farnon in the long-running and much loved BBC series ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ and in his many and magnificently distinguished portrayals of Winston Churchill.
“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. Gruff, elegant, twinkly, and always dignified, he is celebrated by all who knew him and loved him, and everyone who enjoyed his work.”
His children also thanked all the staff at Denville Hall, a retirement home for actors located in Greater London, England, for the care they provided to Hardy in his final weeks.
The statement added: “We are immensely grateful to the team at Denville Hall for the tender care they gave during his last weeks.”
His two standout portrayals of World War II era British Prime Minister came in 2015’s ‘Churchill: 100 Days That Saved Britain’ and in 1981’s ‘Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years’.
Some of Hardy’s other notable roles included parts in TV shows ‘Middlemarch’ and ‘Little Dorrit’ and big screen performances in cult 1972 Hammer horror film ‘Demons of the Mind’, Kenneth Branagh’s 1994 re-telling of ‘Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein’ – which starred Robert De Niro as the monster – and Ang Lee’s 1995 adaptation of Jane Austen’s ‘Sense and Sensibility’.
He was awarded a CBE for his services to acting in 1981.