Actor Paul Ritter dies aged 54

The actor Paul Ritter has died at the age of 54, his agent has said. 

He had appeared in a number of TV shows and films including Harry Potter, Chernobyl, Vera, Friday Night Dinner and James Bond. 

Mr Ritter’s agent said: “It is with great sadness we can confirm that Paul Ritter passed away last night.

“He died peacefully at home with his wife Polly and sons Frank and Noah by his side. He was 54 and had been suffering from a brain tumour.

“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.”

Robert Popper, who starred alongside Mr Ritter in Channel 4’s Friday Night Dinner said: “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.”

Fellow actor Stephen Mangan wrote of Mr Ritter: “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.

“I was so lucky to know him and lucky too to work with him many times over the years. Wonderful man. RIP.”

The actor was best known for his role as family patriarch Martin Goodman in Channel 4’s Friday Night Dinner, in which he starred alongside Tamsin Greig and Simon Bird.

He also played Anatoly Dyatlov in the acclaimed drama Chernobyl and Eldred Worple in Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince.

Other notable roles were as Guy Haines in James Bond film Quantum Of Solace, in period drama Belgravia, as Billy Cartwright in Vera and Sir John Seymour in Wolf Hall.

Born in 1966, Ritter made his TV debut in an episode of The Bill in 1992 and became an acclaimed stage actor, working with the National Theatre in The Royal Hunt Of The Sun, All My Sons, Coram Boy, The Hot-House, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time and as John Major in The Audience opposite Dame Helen Mirren as the Queen.

He also worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company and played Pistol in the 2012 mini-series The Hollow Crown.

Ritter was nominated for a Tony Award and an Olivier for his role as Reg in the Old Vic’s revival of The Norman Conquests.

Actor Rob Delaney also paid tribute, and said: “Knocked it out of the park in Chernobyl. Watching it I consciously thought, ‘Oh, we have a new movie star,”‘ Delaney wrote on Twitter.

“Between that and how funny he was in Friday Night Dinner… just unreal talent. Rest in peace, Paul Ritter.”

Actor Will Mellor said Mr Ritter was a “fantastic actor”.

“I’m so shocked to hear about Paul Ritter! I can’t believe it!,” he wrote on Twitter. “Great man and fantastic actor, My heart goes out to his family, Such a sad day. RIP Paul.”

He signed off his tweet with the hashtag “heartbreaking”.

More to follow.

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