Robbie Coltrane, one of the foremost Scottish actors of our generation, well known for roles like Valentin Zukovsky in the James Bond franchise and Hagrid in all the parts of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter, passed away at the age of 72. The beloved actor brought some of the most iconic characters to life and was well-liked by fans across the world. No cause was revealed for his death.
At a time like this, fans will be reminiscing about some of his best-written and well-acted characters, and Valentin Zukovsky is one of the most popular of them all. Coltrane appeared in two James Bond films in 1995 and 1999, with the character also appearing in subsequent novels and video games.
In memory of the recently deceased, Robbie Coltrane, here is a look back at his iconic Valentin Zukovsky.
Who was Robbie Coltrane's Valentin Zukovsky in James Bond?
Valentin Zukovsky was an ex-KGB intelligence officer turned Russian mafia head who ran a bar, a casino, and a caviar factory. He was a recurring character in the James Bond franchise, appearing in two of the most popular Bond films of all time, GoldenEye (1995) and The World is Not Enough (1999).
In their first interaction, Bond ended up shooting Valentin in the leg and stealing his gun, effectively beginning their rivalry. He later became an ally of James Bond in Goldeneye after being persuaded with bribes and after Bond revealed to him that he had a kill shot but chose to spare Valentin Zukovsky. The latter held a grudge against Bond for nearly the entire film.
In the 1999 sequence, Valentin helped Bond with information. He had also become a casino owner by the second film. Though he was a recurring character, he ended up being instrumental in saving James Bond escape Elektra's Antique torture chair, effectively becoming an important character in the franchise.
Talking about Valentin Zukovsky's personality, M16 describes:
"Sly, resourceful and with a devious sense of humour, Valentin Zukovsky is both a smart businessman and a crooked con-man. With connections to the Russian Mafia and as an ex-KGB operative, Zukovsky can get away with just about anything."
It further goes on to say,
"His connections have proved useful to James Bond on more than one occasion - reluctantly assisting 007 on two documented missions, with reference to past conflict between the old spies. Suspicious dealings, such as selling explosives, guns or even submarines to the highest bidder, rarely go wrong for this experienced career criminal."
Though Valentin was shot at the end of World is Not Enough (1999), his character arc continued in other media with Goldeneye's novelization presenting an alternate version of his character. His arc also continued in the video game Goldeneye. Valentin also appeared as a multiplayer character in the official video game World is Not Enough.
Notably, Valentin was the first Bond ally to be killed on screen prior to the Daniel Craig era.
Robbie Coltrane will always be remembered for this terrific role and his flawless performance in it. He was also popular for many notable roles, like Dr. Eddie Fitzerald in Cracker and Hagrid in the Harry Potter franchise, which is also arguably his most popular role.