April 14, 2021

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Paul Ritter, actor in ‘Chernobyl,’ ‘Harry Potter,’ ‘Friday Night Dinner,’ dies at 54

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Paul Ritter, a Tony-nominated actor in theater, film and TV who appeared in the 2019 “Chernobyl” miniseries and 2009’s “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” has died, his representative confirmed. He was 54. 

The actor died Monday evening at home after suffering from a brain tumor, surrounded by his wife and sons, representative Isabella Riggs confirmed to USA TODAY. 

“Paul was an exceptionally talented actor playing an enormous variety of roles on stage and screen with extraordinary skill,” a statement added. “He was fiercely intelligent, kind and very funny. We will miss him greatly.” 

Paul Ritter attends the "Friday Night Dinner" photocall at Curzon Soho on March 9, 2020 in London, England.

Born in the United Kingdom, Ritter most recently starred as patriarch Martin Goodman in the British television series “Friday Night Dinner,” which ran from 2011 to 2020. In 2009, he received a Tony nomination for his lead role in the play “The Norman Conquests” and appeared as Eldred Worple in the film adaptation of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” He also played a political operative in “Quantum of Solace,” the 2008 James Bond film.

In 2019, he appeared in the history/drama miniseries “Chernobyl” as Anatoly Dyaltlov, a deputy chief engineer put on trial for causing the infamous 1986 nuclear accident.

Paul Ritter, center, appeared as Anatoly Dyatlov in the 2019 miniseries "Chernobyl."

“Friday Night Dinner” creator Robert Popper mourned Ritter in a statement as “a lovely, wonderful human being. Kind, funny, super caring and the greatest actor I ever worked with.” 

“We were incredibly sad to learn that Paul Ritter passed away last night,” Big Talk, the production company behind “Friday Night Dinner,” added in a statement provided to USA TODAY. 

“He was a brilliant, kind and talented man much loved by everyone who was lucky enough to know and work with him, and Paul will forever be part of both the Big Talk and Friday Night Dinner families. Our thoughts are with his own family at this time and following their wishes we will be making a donation to the Old Vic Impact Fund.”

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