Legendary British actor Alan Rickman has passed away at his home in London aged 69, after suffering with cancer. The actor’s family, who released an official statement, confirmed the news of his passing: “The actor and director Alan Rickman has died from cancer at the age of 69. He was surrounded by family and friends.”
Rickman had a phenomenal career spanning thirty years, he attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art after he graduated and appeared in productions with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Though it was in 1988 that he was propelled to international fame with his first big film break, playing the role of sinister Hans Gruber in Die Hard (1988).
From that moment forward, Rickman was swamped with film roles and his languid diction, delivery and on-screen presence gave him the ability to play a variety of roles, whether they were humourous, romantic or villainous. He won a ‘Best Supporting Actor’ BAFTA in 1991 for his scene-stealing take on the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), which further anchored his status as an extremely talented actor. He received additional acclaim being the recipient of a handful of other awards, most notably a Golden Globe for the HBO TV movie Rasputin (1996) in which he played the starring role.
In 1990, Rickman starred as a cellist in Anthony Minghella’s supernatural romance Truly, Madly, Deeply (1990); five years later he stepped up to play the role of the honourable (and rather dashing) Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility (1995) alongside Emma Thompson, who also scripted the film. He reunited with Thompson numerous times over the coming years, memorably playing her husband in Love, Actually (2003).
Of all his work, it was arguably his appearance as potions director Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films (2001-2011) that he will be fondly remembered for, as he brought to life one of J.K. Rowling’s most iconic characters. When speaking of his character in the wizarding world of Harry Potter, he reportedly told an interviewer: “When I’m 80 years old and sitting in my rocking chair, I’ll be reading Harry Potter. And my family will say to me, ‘After all this time?’ And I will say, ‘Always.” #Always
The cast and crew of these movies were among the first to pay tribute to the beloved actor. Daniel Radcliffe wrote that he had been “one of the greatest actors I will ever work with” as well as “one of the loyalest and most supportive people I’ve ever met in the film industry. (sic)”
The author of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling, said: “There are no words to express how shocked and devastated I am to hear of Alan Rickman’s death. He was a magnificent actor & a wonderful man.” Michael Gambon, who played Dumbledore, also paid tribute to his former co-star: “Everybody loved Alan. He was always happy and fun and creative and very, very funny.”
His death comes just days after the passing of iconic singer and talented artist David Bowie, who also passed away, aged 69, from cancer. The comedian Eddie Izzard seemed to echo the thoughts of many today, writing: “I do not want my heroes to die! Alan Rickman is dead and he was another hero. Alan – thank you for being with us. We are sorry you had to go.”
Whether you knew him as a professor, terrorist, sheriff, scientist or colonel, no one could argue with the fact that Alan Rickman was a hero of the stage and screen.
Raise your wands…
R.I.P. Alan Rickman (21 February 1946 – 14 January 2016)