British actor Paul Ritter has died. Best known for his roles as family patriarch Martin in the Channel 4 comedy Friday Night Dinner and as Anatoly Dyatlov in the HBO drama Chernobyl, Ritter died Monday of a brain tumor, his agent confirmed to Variety. He was 54.
In the statement confirming his death, Ritter's agent said it was "with great sadness" he shared the news that the actor "died peacefully at home with his wife Polly and sons Frank and Noah by his side." He was remembered as "an exceptionally talented actor" who played "an enormous variety of roles on stage and screen with extraordinary skill." He was also remembered as being "fiercely intelligent, kind and very funny." His agent said Ritter would be "greatly" missed.
Ritter splashed onto the entertainment scene in 1992 with his debut performance on famed police procedural drama The Bill. In the years that followed, he initially became best known as a stage actor and was nominated for an Olivier in 2006 for Coram Boy. In 2009, he was nominated for a Tony for the 2008 production of The Norman Conquests. He went on to make a name for himself in other areas of the entertainment world, starring in a number of high-profile movies, taking on the role of Eldred Worple in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Guy Haines, a government adviser, the James Bond film Quantum of Solace. The actor, however, was perhaps best known for his role as Martin in the long-running comedy Friday Night Dinner, which he starred in from 2011 until 2020. He was also recently seen as Anatoly Dyatlov, the supervisor who was blamed for not following safety protocols in 2019's Chernobyl.
Amid news of his death, those who worked with him have taken to social media to pay tribute, with Friday Night Dinner creator Robert Popper tweeting, "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." Actor Sanjeev Kohli remembered Ritter as "one of the most versatile & brilliant actors that have ever drawn breath. If Paul Ritter was in something, it made it good." Kohli said news of Ritter's death was "horrendous."
Ritte's other credits included the series Belgravia, Cold Feet, No Offence, and Resistance, among many others. He set to appear in John Madden's upcoming Colin Firth-starring WWII drama Operation Mincemeat. He will also appear in the Friday Night Dinner 10th-anniversary retrospective, which is scheduled to air on Channel 4 later this year.