In just four days, Britain has lost two of its greatest exports. David Bowie on the 10th, and now Alan Rickman has sadly lost his battle with cancer and passed away, aged 69.
Famed for his calm demeanor and double-bass, monotone voice, older readers would remember him as Hans Gruber from the first Die Hard film (1988), the younger of you would know him as Dumbledore-killing Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise (2001-2011). His career in cinema lasted 28 years, appearing in dozens of big movies such as Love, Actually (2003), Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007).
In a lot of his films, Rickman played somewhat of a villain. Even in Love, Actually he plays a man who is dastardly close to cheating on his wife. During his career he played the Sheriff of Nottingham (Prince of Thieves), Grigory Rasputin (Rasputin) – if you don’t know who Rasputin was, look him up – and obviously Gruber.
He was so convincing at being bad that not many people knew how incredibly kind and generous he was when the cameras weren’t rolling:
Kate Winslet, who starred with Rickman in Sense and Sensibility described him as a “warm-hearted puppy dog.” Harry Potter co-stars Rupert Grint and Emma Watson said he was “a privilege to work with,” while Daniel Radcliffe described him as “one of the loyalest and most supportive people I’ve ever met in the film industry” in a statement released on Thursday (14th).
Born in Acton, West London in 1946, Rickman studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). He then started his career on the stage, but never really caught the attention until he was cast as Vicomte de Valmont in Les Liaisons Dangereuses on Broadway in 1987, where he was nominated for a Tony Award. He then went on to play Hans Gruber in Die Hard a year later. It was his first film, at the age of 41. He would then go onto become one of the country’s greatest and most respected actors. His last film is Tim Burton‘s sequel to Alice in Wonderland, Alice Through The Looking Glass, where he returned to voice the Blue Caterpillar, set to be released in cinemas later this year.
He leaves wife, Rima Horton, of whom he married privately last year.
He will be sorely missed but his characters will live on for generations to come. Rest in Peace.