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Child Actor Raphael Coleman Is Dead at 25

He starred in 'Nanny McPhee,' but left acting for science and wildlife activism
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2020 5:33 AM CST
A screen shot of a young Raphael Colemen, from the movie 'Nanny McPhee.'   (YouTube)

(Newser) – A child actor who shifted his focus to wildlife conservation and activism has died at age 25. Raphael Coleman is best known as one of the young stars of the 2005 movie Nanny McPhee with Emma Thompson and Colin Firth, reports People. The cause of death is unclear, but Coleman reportedly collapsed during a run. In addition to Nanny McPhee, he also had roles in the 2009 feature films It's Alive and The Fourth Kind, per Variety. But after studying zoology in college, Coleman ditched the acting life for science, then ditched science for activism. This essay he wrote for the group Extinction Rebellion—in which he uses the name James "Iggy" Fox—provides a taste of his newfound passion.

In Nanny McPhee, "he played himself with great talent, a little redhead boy who was always mixing explosive chemical ingredients," writes stepfather Carsten Jensen in a tribute. "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." He noted that Coleman traveled “around the world all alone” at age 18. English actress Eliza Bennett, also in Nanny McPhee, shared her own "heartbroken" tribute. (Read more obituary stories.)

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