Paul Ritter, Harry Potter and Chernobyl star, dies aged 54

Kristine Tarbert
·Features and Health Editor
·3-min read

British actor Paul Ritter has died of a brain tumour at the age of 54, his representatives confirmed in a statement on Tuesday.

Tributes have been flooding social media for the star, whose film and television credits include Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Friday Night Dinner and the James Bond film Quantum of Solace.

paul ritter in front of an orange screen
Paul Ritter has died aged 54. Photo: Getty
Simon Bird, Tom Rosenthal, Tamsin Greig and Paul Ritter
The British actor was best known for his role in UK sit-com Friday Night. Photo: Getty

The statement said Paul "died peacefully at home with his wife Polly and sons Frank and Noah by his side."

"Paul was an exceptionally talented actor playing an enormous variety of roles on stage and screen with extraordinary skill. He was fiercely intelligent, kind and very funny. We will miss him greatly," it continued.

Paul was best known to thousands of TV viewers as the father Martin Goodman in UK sit-com Friday Night Dinner, alongside Tamsin Greig, Simon Bird and Tom Rosenthal.

He also had a role in the sixth Harry Potter film, where he played character Eldred Worple who attended Professor Horace Slughorn's 'Slug Club' Christmas party.

In the franchise, Worple is introduced to Harry Potter by Slughorn and tries to convince the boy wizard to let him write his biography.

Paul featured in HBO's 2019 mini-series Chernobyl and other films such as The Libertine and Hannibal Rising.

Not only on screens, Paul was also a stage actor and in 2006 was nominated for an Olivier award for his performance in Coram Boy and for a Tony award for his role in The Norman Conquests in 2009.

His final role in WWII film Operation Mincemeat as Bentley Purchase is understood to have been completed but has not yet been released.

Paul Ritter in Chernobyl.
Paul featured in HBO's 2019 mini-series Chernobyl. Photo: HBO
Paul ritter was Eldred Worple in the sixth Harry Potter
He played character Eldred Worple in the sixth Harry Potter movie. Photo: Warner Bros

Tributes from fans and former colleagues have flooded social media since the news was shared online.

"Devastated at this terribly sad news. Paul was a lovely, wonderful human being. Kind, funny, super caring and the greatest actor I ever worked with x," Friday Night Dinner creator Robert Popper tweeted.

"Trying to find a way to talk about Paul Ritter and struggling. My friend since we were students together. So much talent and it shone from him even as a teenager," said Stephen Mangan. "I was so lucky to know him and lucky too to work with him many times over the years. Wonderful man. RIP."

Scottish actor Sanjeev Kohli shared on Twitter: "Paul Ritter was one of the most versatile & brilliant actors that has ever drawn breath. If Paul Ritter was in something, it made it good. This is horrendous news."

Paul ritter tribute
Tributes have been shared for the star. Photo: Twitter

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