Harry Melling is an English actor best known for his role as ‘Dudley’ in the Harry Potter movies. The actor also appeared in The Queen’s Gambit, The Devil All The Time, and The Tragedy of Macbeth.
Harry Edward Melling was born in London, England, on March 13, 1989, to Brian Melling, a graphic designer, and Joanna Troughton, a children’s book author. The actor also has a brother, Jack.
He began an interest in acting at an early age, putting on shows for his family when he was four and enrolled in drama, dance, and singing classes, becoming a Millfield Theatre Youth Drama Group member when he was nine.
Acting runs in the family, as Melling is the grandson of actor Patrick Troughton, who is known for his role in the British science-fiction television series Doctor Who.
Early in his career, Melling appeared in stage productions, including King John, Antigone, The Provoked Wife, and Plenty.
He also played Swiss Cheese in the production of "Mother Courage and her Children" at the Royal National Theater in 2009. Two years later, he would portray Sir Benjamin Backbite in The School for Scandal at Barbican Centre in London.
Melling landed the role of Dudley Dursley in Harry Potter after casting was held at his school for the first film in the franchise.
The actor’s character was the spoiled cousin of Harry Potter and appeared in five franchise movies. Dudley Dursley, along with his gang, tormented Harry and other children.
Many fans praise Melling for his work in Harry Potter and other films, considering him one of the best actors in the franchise.
For Harry and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, the actor was almost recast because he lost so much weight, going from 224 lbs. to 159 lbs., but wore a fat suit instead.
The actor was considered unrecognizable since his appearance in the last Harry Potter film, leading directors to get creative.
What did he do after Harry Potter?
The actor appeared in one episode of the British fantasy-adventure drama Merlin, playing Gilli. The show was loosely based on the Arthurian legends and starred Colin Morgan, Bradley James, and Katie McGrath. The series received several nominations, winning the British Academy Television Award for Visual Effects in 2011.
In 2010, Melling appeared in four episodes of Just William playing the character Robert Brown. The series was based on Richmal Crompton’s series of books by the same name. The show lasted four episodes and was set in the 1950s, post-World War II.
Melling appeared in three episodes as George Pinnock in the British period legal drama series Garrow’s Law. The show revolved around the 18th-century lawyer William Garrow but was canceled after three seasons.
In 2016, Melling played William Barclay in the biographical adventure drama film The Lost City of Z. The film was based on the David Grann book by the same name and starred Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, and Sienna Miller.
The actor played Harrison in the Meal Ticket segment of The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, a 2018 Western anthology film. The movie starred James Franco, Tim Blake Nelson, and Tyne Daly and was written, directed, and produced by the Coen brothers and had limited release in theaters, with the intention for it to be shown on Netflix.
In 2018, Melling played Sergeant Smythe in the British-German biographical film The Keeper, which only grossed $2.1 million against a budget of $13.4 million. The film is a love story between a German POW (Prisoner of War) and an English woman.
What is Harry Melling doing now?
Melling is still very active as an actor and his talents are in high demand.
In 2020, the actor appeared in the superhero film The Old Guard, playing the character of Merrick. The film also starred Charlize Theron and KiKi Layne and centered around a team of immortal mercenaries on a revenge mission. The movie was released on Netflix with overall positive reviews.
The Devil All The Time
Melling appeared as Roy Lafferty in the 2020 psychological thriller film The Devil All The Time; in the Netflix film, Melling is a fanatical preacher who at one point pours spiders onto his face.
Fifty spiders were used during filming, and the crew carefully handled the arachnids so no spiders were harmed.
Say Your Prayers
Melling kept busy in 2020 and appeared in the dark comedy Say Your Prayers. The movie follows Melling’s character, Tim, along with his brother, Vic, as they begin a mission to kill a celebrated anti-religion activist, played by Roger Allam.
The Queen’s Gambit
Melling played Harry Beltik in the Netflix drama series The Queen’s Gambit, appearing in four episodes. The series is a coming-of-age drama miniseries based on the Walter Tevis 1983 book of the same name.
The actor donned fake teeth for later episodes and was quoted as saying, "That was a fantastic way of subtly changing … me, basically.
It literally changes the way you speak and where your face falls. I’m always fascinated by those little adjustments you can do that aren’t gonna be that obvious, but as an actor, helps you shift into a different gear."
The Tragedy of Macbeth
In 2021, Melling appeared as Malcolm in the historical thriller The Tragedy of Macbeth, starring Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand.
The film premiered at the New York Film Festival and, in 2022, began streaming on Apple TV+. The movie portrays the classic tragedy and received high acclaim from critics.
Harry Melling is not married and does not have children.