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Harry Potter teachers now – sad deaths, secret cancer battle and JK Rowling fury

Harry Potter marked a generation, and with many fans growing up watching the film series or reading the books, both the actors and the characters have left a firm imprint on millions.

Sadly, even before the series had wrapped fans faced loss of the actors, before being hit with the loss of the characters too.

Some of the teachers fought devastating battles behind the scenes, while others have been able to put their career at the forefront of their focus.

One actress who truly faced a battle, was Dame Maggie Smith, who was undergoing chemo treatments while filming for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

To celebrate Maggie, who turns 87 today, Daily Star has looked into the lives and tragedies of some of Hogwarts' teachers.

Richard Harris – Professor Dumbledore

Richard Harris played Albus Dumbledore in the first and second Harry Potter movies before his untimely death aged 72 on October 25, 2002.

The actor fell ill in August after shooting the second film, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and went to hospital with a chest infection.

Harris, who was twice bankrupted before his time on the film set, was told in the early '80s that he only had 18 months to live if he didn't stop drinking.

He went on to live years after that, and fell ill with Hodgkin's disease and received chemotherapy. He started filming the third Harry Potter film before his untimely death.

Michael Gambon – Professor Dumbledore

Michael Gambon, who took over from Richard Harris as Dumbledore following his untimely death, has stepped back from lengthy acting roles due to "memory loss".

The actor previously revealed that multiple tests suggested he didn't have Alzheimer's, but his memory was resulting in him forgetting his lines.

He stated that in one performance, someone had to feed him his lines from the wings, which he took as a sign to step down from anything that was too long.

Alan Rickman – Professor Snape

Alan Rickman was famous for many outstanding roles, including Die Hard, Love Actually and Robin Hood, but many Harry Potter fans will immediately recognise him as Severus Snape.

The actor was famously one of the only other people – bar JK Rowling herself – who knew the truth behind his character after the star reportedly stated he wanted to quit the role.

Fans were therefore lucky to see him all throughout the series until his character Snape's death right in the final him.

Five years after the final film was released, Alan Rickman died of pancreatic cancer at 69 years old which stuck with fans for many years.

Fans all over the world, both of Harry Potter and his long reel of movies, were left utterly devastated following the tragic loss.

Maggie Smith – Professor McGonagall

Dame Maggie Smith has had a long and impressive career in showbiz with stints in Harry Potter, Downton Abbey and Sister Act, to name a few.

She's played Professor McGonagall in all the Harry Potter films, but her time on Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince was perhaps her hardest.

The actress herself had breast cancer at the time and was undergoing chemotherapy after discovering a lump in her breast.

Speaking to The Times, she previously said that while she was filming she was hairless and had "no problem getting the wig on".

However, she did say that she planned to "stagger through" the final film after saying the last few years felt like a "write off", but was slowly getting her energy back.

Emma Thompson – Professor Trelawney

Emma Thompson famously suffered heartbreak over the affair of her ex husband Kenneth Branagh's (Professor Lockhart) affair with Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange).

She previously told The Telegraph when talking about Love Actually: "I had my heart very badly broken by Ken. So I knew what it was like to find the necklace that wasn't meant for me. Well, it wasn't exactly that, but we've all been through it."

However, she's now moved on with her beau Greg Wise and the duo have been married since 2003.

She was supporting her hubby all throughout his Strictly stint – and also proved she is a big fan of Adele during An Audience With.

Robbie Coltrane – Hagrid

Robbie Coltrane landed his most famous role as Hagrid on Harry Potter, but since then he's still had a number of jobs including a stint on National Treasure and Ocean's Twelve.

He also spoke to Radio Times in recent years following JK Rowling's backlash following criticism over her tweets.

Robbie said: "I don't think what she said was offensive really. I don't know why but there's a whole Twitter generation of people who hang around waiting to be offended. They wouldn't have the war, would they?"

He didn't add any further comment because he didn't want to get involved due to "all of the hate mail".

David Thewlis – Professor Lupin

David Thewlis married his partner Hermine in a secret ceremony earlier this year after keeping their love life quite low-key, which is how the actor likes to live his life these days.

The actor has quite a relaxed exterior and doesn't often surround himself with controversy – instead he focuses on his impressive career as an actor.

While many Harry Potter fans will know him as Professor Lupin, Werewolf and Order of the Phoenix member, many others will know him from one of his other recognisable roles.

He appeared in The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, An Inspector Calls, Legend and The Theory of Everything, to name a few.

Imelda Staunton – Professor Umbridge

Imelda Staunton mastered the art of being despised as a character but irreversibly loved as an actress.

She has had some incredible roles over the years and her time as Professor Umbridge was undoubtedly impressive – but that's not the extent of her abilities.

Imelda has also taken on roles in The Crown as Queen Elizabeth and Alice in Wonderland. She also appeared in Downton Abbey alongside her Harry Potter co-star Maggie Smith.

Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, is expected to hit UK screens on now TV on January 1, 2022.

Sadly, not every star will be able to make it, but Robbie Coltrane, who played Hagrid, is expected to join the cast to reminisce over the many years spent on set.

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