Alan Rickman

Date Of Birth:
21 February 1946
Date Of Death:
14 January 2016
Place Of Birth:
Acton, England
Best Known As:
Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films
Actor Alan Rickman was best known as the fabulously evil Hans Gruber in Die Hard and the creepy Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies. But across his long career he played the full range of good, bad and inbetween. Alan Rickman was born near London and as a child excelled at painting and art. He began a career as a graphic designer, but was drawn to acting and at age 26 won a spot at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (1972-74). He spent the next decade in British theater, culminating in his starring role as the nasty Vicomte de Valmont in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s original production of LesLiaisons Dangereuses (1985). Three years later he was a movie star as well, after making his film debut as the skyscraper-hijacking criminal mastermind Hans Gruber in Die Hard (1988), with heroic loner Bruce Willis ruining his evil plans. (In 2003 the AFI named Hans Gruber the 46th greatest movie villain of all time, just below The Joker and three spots above notorious James Bond villain Goldfinger.) Rickman’s hooded eyes and languid voice gave added depth to a wide variety of parts over the next 25 years: He played a ghostly lover in Truly Madly Deeply (1990), won a BAFTA as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991, with Kevin Costner as Robin Hood), won an Emmy and a Golden Globe as the mad monk Rasputin in the TV movie Rasputin (1995), was the hilarious Spockish alien Dr. Lazarus in the sci-fi spoof Galaxy Quest (1999), was a wandering husband in Love Actually (2003) and even played President Ronald Reagan in The Butler (2013). The latter part of his film career was dominated by his turn as the sneering wizard Severus Snape, whom he played in eight Harry Potter films, from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) through Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011). He also continued his long career in the theater with notable leading roles in plays like Private Lives (both in London and on Broadway, 2002) and Antony and Cleopatra (1998). Alan Rickman died of cancer in 2016; the surprise announcement was made by his family on January 14th of that year.
Extra Credit

Alan Rickman met his wife, the professor Rima Horton, when they were students at the Chelsea School of Art; they were a couple for five decades but didn’t marry until 2012. They had no children. Some sources report the wedding date as 2015, but a article dated April 23, 2015 stated that “The longtime couple tied the knot three years ago in a secret ceremony, his rep confirms”… Alan Rickman’s hometown of Acton is an area within the London borough of Ealing; some sources list his place of birth as London or West London… The role of the nefarious Vicomte de Valmont, originated on stage by Alan Rickman, was played by John Malkovich in the 1988 movie Dangerous Liaisons.

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