British film and theater actor – famous for playing Severus Snape in Harry Potter and villain Hans Gruber in Die Hard – has passed away.
The star had been suffering from cancer. He is survived by his wife and longtime partner Rima Horton, whom he had lived with since 1977.
Born on a council estate in Acton, West London, to Margaret Doreen Rose (Bartlett) and Bernard Rickman,like many British actors, Rickman’s career began on the stage after he graduated from drama school RADA, and he frequently returned to the stage throughout his career.Hailing from a working-class London family, he supported himself as a dresser before finding work with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
It started a professional acting career that has lasted nearly 40 years, with no signs of stopping, a career which has spanned stage, screen and television and has lapped over into directing, as well
He may be best known to older fans as sadistic terrorist Hans Gruber in Die Hard from 1988, or the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves from 1991.
But younger fans probably know him best for his turn as the morally ambiguous Professor Severus Snape in the hugely successful Harry Potter franchise.
Tributes have come from figures like Sense and Sensibility director Ang Lee, who called him “a great human being”
TV star and Bafta ceremony host Stephen Fry wrote: “What desperately sad news about Alan Rickman. A man of such talent, wicked charm and stunning screen and stage presence. He’ll be sorely missed.”
Author J.K Rowling writes ” 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.”
Rickman was also viewed by many as a movie heart-throb and – striking a blow for the more mature actor – he was ranked in seventh place in a sexiest actor list by Total Film magazine in 2013 at the age of 66, beating stars such as Brad Pitt and George Clooney.
Emma Watson on twitter :
— Emma Watson (@EmWatson) January 14, 2016
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.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) January 14, 2016
Shocked & sad to hear Alan Rickman has passed away. One of the nicest actors I’ve ever met.Thoughts and prayers with his family at this time
— James Phelps (@James_Phelps) January 14, 2016
Terribly sad news about the passing of Alan Rickman. A funny and engaging person who put a shy young actor at ease when I was on HP.
— Oliver Phelps (@OliverPhelps) January 14, 2016
On acting: “Actors are agents of change. A film, a piece of theatre, a piece of music, or a book can make a difference. It can change the world”
On playing Snape: “Every time I put that costume on something weird took over”
On awards: “Parts win prizes, not actors. You always know a part that’s got ‘prize winner’ written all over it”
On talent: “Talent is an accident of genes – and a responsibility”
On JK Rowling: “She gave me one tiny, little, left of field piece of information that helped me think that he (Snape) was more complicated, and that the story was not going to be as straight down the line as everybody thought”
On the power of stories: “The more we’re governed by idiots and have no control over our destinies, the more we need to tell stories to each other about who we are, why we are, where we come from, and what might be possible”
On life and art: “If only life could be a little more tender and art a little more robust”
As well as a treasure trove of award-winning films from his career so far, Rickman also leaves behind new works. His death comes just months ahead of the release of a new film called Eye In The Sky in which he stars alongside Helen Mirren and Aaron Paul.
The star had also completed another film set for release later this year called Alice Through The Looking Glass.
Shock for fans as details of illness emerge
Rickman had not previously spoken about his illness publicly. The news is likely to be a shock for fans, and comes just days after the death of David Bowie, who had also been secretly living with terminal cancer.