Stocky Scottish comic actor Robbie Coltrane was trained for his craft in Glasgow and Edinburgh. During the 1970s, he toured with the San Quentin Theatre Workshop and rose to prominence as an improvisational nightclub comedian, usually working in ensemble (one of his partners was actress Emma Thompson). In 1973, he produced the documentary Young Mental Health.
Coltrane gained an American following with his antic performances in Nuns on the Run (1990) and The Pope Must Die (1991); when the latter film's title courted censorship, it was Coltrane himself who suggested that it be altered to The Pope Must Diet. In 1993, Coltrane launched the British TV detective series Cracker, in which he essayed the dramatic role of a volcanic, neurosis-ridden detective. When Cracker was broadcast in America over the A&E cable service, the series earned Coltrane a Cable Ace Award.
He was once best known to North American audiences as Valentin Dmitrovich Zukovsky from the James Bond movie Goldeneye (1995), a role he reprised in The World is Not Enough (1999), but he has since become even better known for his role as the odd, but lovable gentle giant Hagrid in the Harry Potter movies. In 2011, Coltrane wrapped up his work on the series The Comic Strip Presents... in which he played several different chracters since first appearing on the show in 1982. Following that, he voiced the character of the Lead Elf in the 2011 animated film Arthur Christmas and Lord Dingwall in 2012's Brave.
He has two children with his wife, Rhona, from whom he is currently separated.