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

20th Century Fox BBC America period drama Infographic Epix Biopics TLC Horror singing competition Extras RT History politics Teen Lionsgate Drama DGA Reality Character Guide X-Men blaxploitation ABC discovery Mary Tyler Moore Star Trek Certified Fresh green book Logo FOX PBS social media NYCC Western Toys BBC Nominations Captain marvel supernatural zombie Fall TV spy thriller IFC Films Watching Series adventure Cosplay travel See It Skip It Pixar award winner NBC Spring TV Premiere Dates SXSW mutant 45 Disney Channel based on movie New York Comic Con SundanceTV Paramount Network Reality Competition historical drama Sci-Fi San Diego Comic-Con Trophy Talk Christmas Mary Poppins Returns TCM Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Oscars Hulu Opinion Esquire Rocky vampires YA TBS Mystery casting Best and Worst Marvel 2017 TCA Adult Swim Fantasy YouTube Red CW Seed TNT cults Crackle Action CBS All Access hist Rock DC Comics serial killer robots ratings 2016 TV psycho golden globes Sneak Peek Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Comedy Central festivals justice league E! Walt Disney Pictures Awards Lucasfilm Red Carpet VICE finale war Martial Arts GIFs MCU The Arrangement television Tumblr Marathons Star Wars boxoffice FXX Food Network Dark Horse Comics Calendar sports Holidays GoT Writers Guild of America Fox News dc crossover Creative Arts Emmys Tomatazos A&E Comedy TV Land GLAAD 2015 Superheroe TruTV Netflix DC Universe Trivia jamie lee curtis Song of Ice and Fire History Musicals Syfy Bravo composers Awards Tour CMT comic IFC Quiz romance crime National Geographic miniseries USA ESPN Music Photos Starz DirecTV Cartoon Network APB Freeform zombies cats facebook crime thriller Shudder Nickelodeon Animation aliens crime drama Grammys Summer Countdown dramedy Lifetime Britbox medical drama CBS cinemax Showtime HBO Paramount TCA 2017 binge Election OWN diversity Pirates Comics on TV Masterpiece Sony Pictures Thanksgiving dceu Interview 2018 police drama Kids & Family MTV Podcast science fiction Ghostbusters BET Disney Emmys doctor who talk show PaleyFest Superheroes FX political drama American Society of Cinematographers Rom-Com Set visit Amazon Box Office Ovation VH1 Black Mirror cops USA Network Mindy Kaling TIFF President ABC Family Valentine's Day Musical sitcom CNN thriller YouTube Premium unscripted ITV E3 Brie Larson Schedule Apple 007 biography Sundance Now First Look cooking Winter TV comiccon Winners Amazon Prime Pop El Rey anime Year in Review Video Games Sundance streaming Polls and Games Universal AMC LGBTQ Comic Book spider-man MSNBC Shondaland Spike docudrama Warner Bros. Columbia Pictures Mary poppins what to watch WGN DC streaming service Acorn TV Nat Geo 24 frames technology harry potter 2019 Super Bowl Country 21st Century Fox The CW SDCC transformers Trailer Ellie Kemper