British actor David Ryall of Harry Potter fame has died at the age of 79. David Ryall was born January 5, 1935 in Steyning, West Sussex, England. He passed away on Christmas Day, however there is no other information available at this time. Even though Ryall was best known in the U.S. as Elphias Doge of the famous Harry Potter movies, his career has spanned nearly five decades.
In 2010, Ryall replaced actor Peter Cartwright as Elphias Doge in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. Cartwright passed away on November 18, 2013. His character, Elphias Doge, was a confidant of Dumbledore, a member of the Order of Phoenix, and a jurist in the Ministry of Magic.
In addition to Harry Potter, the British talent has appeared in many different entertainment mediums, including other movies, television, and theater. His many credits include roles in The Singing Detective, Midsomer Murders, and Goodnight Sweetheart.
The popular BBC One sitcom Outnumbered was recently home to Ryall, as he played Frank, also known as “Granddad,” who suffered from dementia. He was a regular character throughout series one and series two, and he reclaimed his role for the Christmas specials in 2009 and 2011. Most recently, however, Ryall can be seen in the BBC dramas Our Girl and The Village, where he stars as Britain’s oldest man, recounting the “good old days” through multiple flashbacks.
Before becoming a recognizable face on popular British television, the actor began his career as a theater actor. He received a scholarship in 1962 to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. During his time at the Royal Academy, he won the Caryl Brahms award for a musical production. Upon leaving the Royal Academy, he went on to be a repertory actor in Birmingham, Leicester, and Salisbury performing productions including King Lear and The Master Builder.
Ryall then went on to join The National Theater, Laurence Olivier’s company. There, he was involved in Tom Stoppard’s Shakespearean tragicomedy spinoff Rosencrantz and Gildenstern are Dead. He was also involved in Guys and Dolls, Animal Farm, and The Beggar’s Opera in the National Theater.
He is survived by his family of talented children, Jonathan, a music manager, Imogen, a singer and actress Charlie Ryall. Daughter and actress Charlie released a statement saying, “Please take a moment to remember his huge five-decade-spanning career outside of the more well-known TV & film. Not just Harry Potter.”
Many friends and colleagues of the famed British actor rallied together and posted messages to Twitter, expressing their sympathies and saying goodbye to the wonderful talent. David Ryall of Harry Potter, having died at the age of 79 was a British treasure, as confirmed by many actors, colleagues and fans alike. Actor Clive Marrison commented, “he was a wonderful actor and a dear colleague. David Brown, a TV writer, posted that Ryall was one of the best “baddies” of Inspector Morse.
The British actor, David Ryall, who is best known to Americans for his role in Harry Potter, died on Christmas Day. Although his portrayal of Elphias Doge is iconic, he lengthy career that lasted over five decades has made his face familiar and well-known on British television and movies.
By Kerri Cushna
Picture by Scott Smith – Flickr License