‘Harry Potter’ Star David Ryall Dies at 79

David Ryall Dead

Veteran British character actor David Ryall, who’s best known to mainstream American audiences as “Harry Potter’s” Elphias Doge, died on Christmas Day. He was 79.

“Sherlock” writer and actor Mark Gatiss tweeted the sad news on Saturday.

His daughter, actress Charlie Ryall, also confirmed on Twitter.

The actor’s career spans more than five decades and covers film, TV and theater. His movie credits include 2008’s “City of Ember,” 2004’s “Around the World in 80 Days” and 1980’s “The Elephant Man.”

Ryall replaced Peter Cartwright as Elphias Doge in 2010’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.” His character was a close friend of Albus Dumbledore in addition to being a Ministry of Magic jurist and an Order of the Phoenix member.

Most recently, he was perhaps best known on the small screen as Frank — the grandfather who suffers from dementia — in the BBC comedy “Outnumbered.”

His television roles also include that of Britain’s oldest man in BBC’s “The Village” and Mr. Hall in writer Dennis Potter’s “The Singing Detective.” He appeared in Andrew Davies’ adaptation of “House of Cards” (not the Netflix original series), the British sitcom “Goodnight Sweetheart” and ITV’s “Midsomer Murders.”

Ryall began his career on the stage before becoming a familiar face on British TV.

The actor joined Laurence Olivier’s company with the National Theatre at a young age, during which time he was involved with several influential plays, including Tom Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.” His work at the National Theatre also included “Guys and Dolls,” “The Beggar’s Opera” and “Animal Farm.”

Ryall is survived by his son, music manager Jonathan Ryall, and two daughters, singer Imogen Ryall and actress Charlie Ryall.

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  1. a, edwards says:

    i’m so sorry for the loss of your father

  2. Wanda Smith says:

    i wash you david ryall in jesus blood spirit sin also wrong free you will be greatly missed sir by many harry potter cast and much more work you have done 79 is better than my dad who died age 59 god bless you and your family david ryall

  3. Thank You for your life long memories in theatre, may he rest in peace.

  4. Billy Bob says:

    “Please take a moment to remember his huge five-decade-spanning career outside of the more well-known TV & film. Not just Harry Potter.”

    And yet despite this, you still decided to go with: “‘Harry Potter’ Star David Ryall Dies at 79” for the title?

  5. ramona leathe delorey says:

    really enjoyed his portrayal of billy buzzle in the bbc sitcom “bless me father” R.I.P. mr. ryall

  6. lindarosarn says:

    I was privileged to see Mr. Ryall in the Denver production of “Tantalus.” I only wish that performance had been recorded.

  7. Rosa Strunk says:

    very sorry to hear this!!

  8. Phyllis L Clower says:

    Sorry to hear the loss of such a great actor, he was very versatile and will be missed 😯

  9. Bright Kelly says:

    I find it amusing that you’ve quoted the daughter’s tweet asking people to remember more than just Harry Potter, given your headline. Pretty bad journalism there. Don’t you think that’s in poor taste? The man had a titanic resume – you didn’t have to lead with “Harry Potter” star, especially given the relatively small role he played there, in comparison with some of his more serious work. Clickbaiting, I say, and for shame.

  10. Frank Thomas says:

    Come on Variety, regarding House of Cards: Mr. Ryal appeared in the BBC’s House of Cards, adapted by Andrew Davies in 1990 from the novel by Michael Dobbs. The Netflix series might be a “Netflix Original,” but it followed the BBC’s by many years. Your story reads as if Davies copied Netflix.

  11. May he rest in peace. He was such an amazing actor!

  12. Sandreu says:

    Odd, to refer to the past two generations most prolific book/film series as a “not”. Should have just alluded to it, and introduced his HP fans to his other work. Totally an “Alec Guinness move. He accepted the role to be introduced to a new fan base, and now they’re insulting it? Poor man. A wonderful actor, with a marvelous resume; a denial of possible fans. Sad now.

  13. Sandy Hunter says:

    I watch a lot of TV, but of your favorite moments in TV I only watched one show. My friends and I don’t watch those shows you recommend. AT ALL!

  14. aldean says:

    Um. What did he die from?

  15. Tali Adina says:

    Reblogged this on Uncanny Pop and commented:
    Via Variety.com

  16. I am glad that David Ryall will be remember for a wonderful role. I wish that TMC will show a marathon of his old movie role.

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