Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY
Published 8:49 a.m. ET Feb. 11, 2020 | Updated 4:37 p.m. ET Feb. 11, 2020
Former child actor turned climate activist Raphael Coleman, a who appeared “Nanny McPhee” in 2005, passed away at the age of 25.
Raphael Coleman, a former child actor who appeared in 2005’s “Nanny McPhee” and dedicated his adult life to climate change activism, has died at age 25.
According to a lengthy and verified Facebook post from Carsten Jensen, Coleman’s stepfather and a Danish author and columnist, Coleman died Friday after collapsing from existing health problems “in the middle of a trip and could not be restored.”
Coleman’s first and most notable acting role was Eric, the redheaded smarty-pants child – one of seven of Colin Firth’s character’s children – in Emma Thompson’s “Nanny McPhee.” He was 11 at the time of the film’s release.
In an email to USA TODAY, “Nanny McPhee” director Kirk Jones wrote about the five months he and Coleman spent together on set in 2004.
“I remember him as a 9 year old child and initially for me that was who we lost last weekend but after reading more about him, I was amazed and incredibly proud of what he had achieved as an adult,” Jones wrote. “Many child actors hold on to their ambition to become ‘famous’ and dream of stardom but for Raph I suspect acting was just a stepping stone, a learning process that would see him eventually make his own films and take a much more important and admirable journey in adulthood far away from the fragile pretense of acting.”
Jones remembers Coleman as a confident, mature and “incredibly opinionated” young actor.
“Raph was very smart, even aged nine he was very keen to learn about film making, full of questions and quick to challenge me as the director or Emma Thompson and Colin Firth if he didn’t agree with something,” he wrote. “The highlight of the shoot for all of the children was the mass food fight at the end of the movie. I remember Raphael hurling cream cakes at Angela Lansbury and Derek Jacobi and laughing uncontrollably with no sense of the fact he was throwing custard tarts in the faces of acting royalty.”
The rest of Coleman’s acting credits include the horror film “It’s Alive,” sci-fi/thriller “The Fourth Kind” and short film “Edward’s Turmoil,” all released in 2009.
“As a child, he was old-wise, extremely literate and loved to lecture adults with his always astonishing knowledge,” Jensen wrote, describing Coleman’s “Nanny McPhee” role as one in which he “played himself with great talent, a little redhead boy who was always mixing explosive chemical ingredients. He had several roles, was rewarded and could have chosen a career as an actor. But he wanted to be a scientist, not to blow up something, as his figure in ‘Nanny Mcphee,’ but to save the planet.”
Coleman, who went by Iggy Fox online, studied zoology and advocated for wildlife preservation and climate change awareness, according to Jensen. He said Coleman was “one of the first and most active members” of Extinction Rebellion, a British climate change activism group.
“Iggy was a burning bright soul and he will be deeply missed by us all,” read a tribute on the Extinction Rebellion website.
“Too often we are presented with articles which take great pleasure in revealing that successful child actors of the past made mistakes and are now a shadow of their former selves,” Jones wrote. “Raph took all that he learned as a child and channeled it into his passions as an adult, rising above the ambitions of a child actor and achieving perhaps the most admirable thing that any young person can do in the modern world. Put their planet and environment above themselves and fight as hard as they can to protect all that is precious before it is lost forever.”
Coleman’s website bio said he was “born and raised in London” and “made on the road.”
“Death turned off raph, but it did not turn off the light that burned in him, because no one who has known him has been unaffected by it or will forget it, and that is how he lives on,” Jensen wrote.
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THIS IS NOT A HAPPY PICTURE – follow the link in my bio to see the full video story for @thewildwork. I’m proud of the animal rehabilitation work I do. But the reality is that this picture is only possible because of the trauma and abuse this animal suffered in the illegal wildlife trade. . Meet Biton. He’s a rescued alpha male red howler monkey. He lives and is cared for in semi-captivity at Ambue Ari wildlife sanctuary and rehabilitation centre, run by Bolivian NGO Comunidad @Inti_Wara_Yassi. Although Biton does this of his own accord with bonded keepers, it’s only achievable safely with extensive training, study and experience. Do NOT buy into animal attractions, wildlife ownership and tourist ‘animal selfie’ culture. This is exactly what put Biton here in the first place. . An ideal world is one where this kind of picture is never taken, because wildlife rehab isn’t necessary. A world where monkeys, Jaguars, rhinos, elephants, pangolins, and all the rest are safe, free from exploitation and abuse. . The way we reach that world is by: – getting educated about the illegal wildlife trade and telling people about it – finding out where the stuff you buy comes from: is the source legal? Ethical? Sustainable? Fair? – REFUSING to buy wild animals and plants. . No pets, no parts, no gifts – leave them in nature, where they belong. . Have you ever seen evidence of suspected animal trafficking or abuse? Tell us about it below ⬇️ . #wildlifecrime #animalselfie
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