Alan Rickman: 1946-2016

by | January 14, 2016 | Comments

(Photo by Matej Divizna/Getty Images)


Alan Rickman, whose dramatic breadth and distinctive vocal delivery made him a legend among cinematic villains and a versatile supporting player in a long list of critically acclaimed films, has passed away at the age of 69 after a battle with cancer.

Born in the Acton ward of London’s Ealing borough, Rickman gained his first acting experience as a teenager, although his working-class background prevented him from immediately seeking it out as a profession. Initially pursuing a career in graphic design, he eventually auditioned with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, earning a spot among the student body and winning several awards during his tenure at the school.

Initially focusing his efforts on the stage, Rickman picked up some early TV credits — including an appearance in the 1982 BBC program The Barchester Chronicles — but his first taste of widespread acclaim came courtesy of his Tony-winning portrayal of the Vicomte de Valmont in Les Liaisons Dangereuses, a role he held during the play’s 1985 Royal Shakespeare Company run and reprised when the production moved to Broadway in 1987.

Rickman’s first major film appearance arrived in 1988’s Die Hard, in which he played Hans Gruber, the delightfully snide terrorist whose takeover of a Los Angeles high rise is foiled by the indefatigable efforts of New York cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) — but not before hero and heavy engage in a battle of wits and one-liners that spawned several sequels and a legion of countless action-thriller imitators. It was followed by a number of memorable roles that included eminently loathable bad guys (like the Sheriff of Nottingham in 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves), comedic turns in films such as Dogma and Galaxy Quest, and several appearances as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise.

Along the way, Rickman continued to compile a varied list of stage and television credits. He moved into directing, helming The Winter Guest (1995) and A Little Chaos (2015). His voice could be heard in episodes of King of the Hill and Back at the Barnyard. He won a Golden Globe Award, an Emmy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for his work in the 1996 HBO movie Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny — and as a recent testament to his range, in 2013, he portrayed Ronald Reagan (in The Butler) as well as legendary club owner Hilly Kristal (in CBGB).

One of Rickman’s most frequent collaborators, Emma Thompson, was among the first to pay tribute after news of his passing broke, sharing that she’d “just kissed him goodbye” and offering a tender eulogy filled with fond memories of their relationship. “He was the ultimate ally. In life, art and politics,” wrote Thompson. “I trusted him absolutely. He was, above all things, a rare and unique human being and we shall not see his like again.”

  • Vits/Vicente Torres

    By GRABTHAR’s Hammer, by the sons of Worvon, you shall be remembered forever Alan. R.I.P.

  • Dr.Malicious, MD

    Another British entertainer dies of cancer (at 69 nonetheless). Rest in peace.

  • HammerofThor

    He’s been my favorite actor since Robin Hood. He was a master. RIP.

  • lucky gmail

    He’ll always be Hans to me. Yippe ki yay….

  • Ray Price

    All the sadder for the fact that aside from being an insanely talented and versatile actor he also sounds like an amazing human being. He will be sorely missed, but will forever live on in his work.

Tag Cloud

Starz 21st Century Fox Star Wars E! Food Network Sneak Peek 2017 Video Games Super Bowl Year in Review CNN Disney Channel Comedy unscripted Amazon NYCC Premiere Dates Awards Winter TV festivals Dark Horse Comics composers Kids & Family political drama GLAAD harry potter YA Adult Swim sitcom Schedule Tomatazos AMC MSNBC First Look Superheroes Britbox Walt Disney Pictures 2016 GIFs Set visit golden globes technology Netflix 007 Paramount serial killer Opinion discovery BBC America Sci-Fi History SundanceTV BBC Syfy Bravo WGN 24 frames Nickelodeon Nat Geo Drama SDCC TIFF robots APB TNT HBO Nominations Spike Thanksgiving TLC Lifetime Freeform SXSW Warner Bros. singing competition war DC Comics PBS 20th Century Fox talk show cinemax diversity Creative Arts Emmys TV Land Pixar Rocky Cosplay science fiction Box Office Paramount Network President cats Extras Grammys Tumblr streaming sports TBS historical drama YouTube Red crime transformers Christmas Lucasfilm Crackle cults dc cops based on movie Shondaland Toys The Arrangement ESPN The CW crime thriller Sony Pictures El Rey crossover romance Star Trek USA aliens RT History Sundance Now Red Carpet Hulu CW Seed PaleyFest Certified Fresh FOX Reality Competition Spring TV Biopics Trailer Writers Guild of America Sundance Western X-Men Rock 2015 Fox News Musical Marathons Superheroe zombie 45 Interview CMT Valentine's Day Mary Tyler Moore Teen Apple thriller what to watch Pirates Esquire police drama CBS NBC Podcast TruTV period drama TCA Ovation MTV DirecTV Universal FX Calendar Photos IFC Films Pop A&E VH1 Oscars GoT Country DC streaming service Winners Marvel Martial Arts Comic Book OWN LGBTQ finale binge Musicals travel Showtime Character Guide Fantasy politics ABC Mystery Song of Ice and Fire Holidays Horror psycho Animation American Society of Cinematographers National Geographic Comedy Central Music Lionsgate USA Network adventure Countdown E3 ABC Family blaxploitation Watching Series Best and Worst dramedy Polls and Games Summer zombies Action Election DC Universe supernatural See It Skip It Masterpiece FXX medical drama BET cooking social media ratings TV hist comiccon Mindy Kaling Acorn TV dceu boxoffice YouTube Premium Ghostbusters Rom-Com biography Trivia Reality mutant spy thriller justice league Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt vampires Logo ITV Disney Emmys IFC docudrama Columbia Pictures TCA 2017 Infographic TCM Ellie Kemper Cartoon Network crime drama Fall TV CBS All Access VICE