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

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