At 72 years old, Robbie Coltrane has this physical status:
Coltrane moved into acting in his early twenties, adopting the stage name Coltrane (in tribute to jazz saxophonist John Coltrane) and working in theatre and comedy. He appeared in the first stage production of John Byrne's The Slab Boys, at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh (1978). His comedic abilities brought him roles in The Comic Strip Presents (1982–2012) series (in 1993 he directed and co-wrote the episode "Jealousy" for series 5), as well as the comedy sketch show Alfresco (1983–1984). In 1984 he appeared in A Kick Up the Eighties (Series 2) and Laugh??? I Nearly Paid My Licence Fee, and is credited as a writer for both.
Coltrane moved into roles in films such as Flash Gordon (1980), Death Watch (1980), Balham, Gateway to the South (1981), Scrubbers (1983), Krull (1983), The Supergrass (1985), Defence of the Realm (1985), Absolute Beginners (1986), Mona Lisa (1986), and appeared as "Annabelle" in The Fruit Machine (1988).
On television, he appeared in The Young Ones, Tutti Frutti (1987), as Samuel Johnson in Blackadder the Third (1987) (a role he later reprised in the more serious Boswell and Johnson's Tour of the Western Islands (1993)), LWT's The Robbie Coltrane Special (1989, which he also co-wrote), and in other stand-up and sketch comedy shows. He played the part of Falstaff in Kenneth Branagh's Henry V (1989). The same year he starred opposite Jeremy Irons in the television film adaptation of Roald Dahl's children's book Danny, the Champion of the World.
He co-starred with Eric Idle in Nuns on the Run (1990) and played the Pope in The Pope Must Die (1991). He also played a would-be private detective obsessed with Humphrey Bogart in the TV film The Bogie Man (1992). His roles continued in the 1990s with the TV series Cracker (1993–1996, returning in 2006 for a one-off special), in which he starred as forensic psychologist Dr. Edward "Fitz" Fitzgerald. The role won him three BAFTA awards.
Roles in bigger films followed: the James Bond films GoldenEye (1995) and The World Is Not Enough (1999), a supporting role in From Hell (2001), as well as half-giant Rubeus Hagrid in the Harry Potter films (2001–2011). J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, had Coltrane at the top of her list to play Hagrid and, when asked whom she would like to see in the role, responded "Robbie Coltrane for Hagrid" in one quick breath.
Coltrane also presented a number of documentary programmes for the British ITV network based around his twin passions for travel and transportation. Coltrane in a Cadillac (1993) saw him cross North America from Los Angeles to New York City behind the wheel of a 1951 Cadillac Series 62 coupe convertible, a journey of 3,765 miles (6,059 km), which he completed in 32 days.
In 1997, Coltrane appeared in a series of six programmes under the title Coltrane's Planes and Automobiles, in which he extolled the virtues of the steam engine, the diesel engine, the supercharger, the V8 engine, the two-stroke engine, and the jet engine. In these programmes he dismantled and rebuilt several engines. He also single-handedly removed the engine from a Trabant car in 23 minutes.
In September 2006, Coltrane was voted No. 11 in ITV's TV's 50 Greatest Stars and sixth in a poll of 2000 adults across the UK to find the 'most famous Scot', behind the Loch Ness Monster, Robert Burns, Sean Connery, Robert the Bruce, and William Wallace.
In August 2007, Coltrane presented a series for ITV called B-Road Britain, in which he travelled from London to Glasgow, stopping in towns and villages along the way.
Coltrane voiced characters in several animated films, including The Tale of Despereaux (2008) Pixar's Brave (2012), as well as the title roles of Gooby and The Gruffalo (both 2009).
In 2016, Coltrane starred in National Treasure, a four-part drama in which he played a former comedian accused of historic sexual offences. He was nominated for Best Actor at the 2017 British Academy Television Awards, and won in the category at the Royal Television Society Programme Awards. Maureen Ryan of Variety wrote that "Coltrane does a masterful job of depicting every nuance of the character, whose wicked sense of humor masks a startling, and possibly intentional, lack of self-awareness".