Robert Hardy, who starred in Harry Potter films and in All Creatures Great And Small, has died at age 91, his family says.
A statement by the family hailed a "tremendous life" and "a giant career in theatre, television and film spanning more than 70 years".
The Bafta-nominated Hardy was one of the country's most prolific character actors.
He played the Minister For Magic Cornelius Fudge in the movies about the boy wizard.
He became a household name as Siegfried Farnon in the long-running BBC series All Creatures Great and Small, and starred in other TV shows such as Middlemarch and Little Dorrit.
Hardy portrayed Winston Churchill on several occasions, most notably in the critically acclaimed series Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years in 1981.
In one of his earliest TV jobs, in 1955, he took on Shakespeare, playing Cassio in Othello.
Tributes started pour in within minutes of the announcement.
The British Film Institute wrote on Twitter that it was "sad" to hear the news.
The statement by his children Emma, Justine and Paul also said: "Dad is also remembered as a meticulous linguist, a fine artist, a lover of music and a champion of literature, as well as a highly respected historian, and a leading specialist on the longbow.
"He was an essential part of the team that raised the great Tudor warship The Mary Rose.""Gruff, elegant, twinkly, and always dignified, he is celebrated by all who knew him and loved him, and everyone who enjoyed his work."
Hardy was awarded the CBE for his services to acting. He died at Denville Hall, a retirement home for actors on the outskirts of London, his family said.