David Ryall Dies: Harry Potter Actor Was 79

The British star, who played Elphias Doge, passed away on Christmas Day

By Corinne Heller Dec 28, 2014 5:25 PMTags
David Ryall, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1Warnre Bros. Pictures

Harry Potter David Ryall actor has died at age 79.

The British star, who began his onscreen acting career in the late '60s and has also appeared in popular U.K. TV shows, passed away on Christmas Day, BBC News reported. He is survived by his son, Jonathan Ryall, and two daughters, Imogen Ryall and Charlie Ryall, the outlet said.

"Please take a moment to remember his huge five-decade-spanning career outside of the more well-known TV & film. Not just Harry Potter," Charlie said on Twitter on Saturday, adding. "Not that I don't love Harry Potter. I do, I do. But there's so much more."

The actor played the wizard Elphias Doge in the 2010 film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, the second-to-last movie in the hit eight-part series. The character is a member of the Ministry of Magic and Order of the Phoenix and close friend of Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore. In the fifth film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Elphias Doge was played by Peter Cartwright.

David is best known for his roles in British TV shows and miniseries, such as The RiverOn the Line and the comedy Outnumbered as well as popular cop series The Bill and medical drama Casualty and spinoff Holby City. He has played former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill three times—on the French show De Gaulle and in the TV movie Bertie and Elizabeth and the film Two Men Went to War, which were both released in 2002. 

The actor also starred in the 1980 movie The Elephant Man with Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft, the 1994 film Black Beauty with Alan Cumming and Sean Bean, the 2004 remake of Around the World in 80 Days with Jackie Chan and the 2008 fantasy-adventure flick City of Ember with Bill Murray.

David also appears in the new movie Autómata with Antonio Banderas, ex Melanie Griffith and Dylan McDermott.

David's acting career began on stage. He was part of Sir Laurence Olivier's company at the National Theatre in London in the '60s and '70s and has appeared in numerous stage productions over the years, such as Tom Stoppard's RosencrantzGuildenstern Are Dead as well as Animal FarmCoriolanus and Guys and Dolls, BBC News reported. In March, he starred with Charlie in a production of the William Shakespeare play King Lear.

"The great David Ryall left us on Christmas Day. A twinkling, brilliant, wonderful actor I was privileged to call a friend. RIP," tweeted Mark Gatiss, executive producer and cast member of the hit BBC series Sherlock. "Thoughts with @charlie_ryall and family at this very sad time."

David appeared in Gatiss' directorial debut, the 2013 TV movie The Tractate Middoth, and the two also co-starred in several other projects, such as the show Crooked House, which Gatiss produced.