Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman (21 February 1946 – 14 January 2016) was an English actor and director known for playing a variety of roles on stage and on screen. Rickman trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, and was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, performing in modern and classical theatre productions.
His first big television part came in 1982, but his big break was as the Vicomte de Valmont in the stage production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses in 1985, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award. Rickman gained wider notice for his film performances as Hans Gruber in Die Hard and Severus Snape in the Harry Potter film series.
His final film roles are as Lieutenant General Frank Benson in the thriller Eye in the Sky, and the voice of Absolem, the caterpillar in Alice Through the Looking Glass prior to his death.
Death and tributes
On 14 January 2016, Rickman passed on in London at the age of 69, a little more than a month before what would have been his 70th birthday. Soon after, his fans created a memorial underneath the "Platform 9¾" sign at London King's Cross railway station. His death has been compared to that of David Bowie, a fellow English cultural figure who died at the same age as Rickman four days earlier, also from cancer kept private from the public. He was cremated in the West London Crematorium.
Tributes from Rickman's co-stars and contemporaries appeared on social media following the announcement; since his cancer was not publicly known, some—like Ralph Fiennes (the actor of Lord Voldemort), who "cannot believe he is gone", and Jason Isaacs (who played Lucius Malfoy), who was "sidestepped by the awful news"—expressed their surprise.
Harry Potter creator J. K. Rowling called Rickman "a magnificent actor and a wonderful man". Emma Watson - who played Hermione Granger - wrote, "I feel so lucky to have worked and spent time with such a special man and actor. I'll really miss our conversations." Daniel Radcliffe, the role of the title character, appreciated his loyalty and support: "I'm pretty sure he came and saw everything I ever did on stage both in Britain and America. He didn't have to do that." Evanna Lynch said it was scary to bump into Rickman in character as Snape, but "he was so kind and generous in the moments he wasn't Snaping about." Rupert Grint, best known for Ronald Weasley, said, "even though he has gone I will always hear his voice."
Kate Winslet, who gave a tearful tribute at the London Film Critics' Circle Awards, remembered Rickman as warm and generous, adding, "And that voice! Oh, that voice." Dame Helen Mirren said his voice "could suggest honey or a hidden stiletto blade." Emma Thompson remembered "the intransigence which made him the great artist he was—his ineffable and cynical wit, the clarity with which he saw most things, including me ... I learned a lot from him." Colin Firth told The Hollywood Reporter that, as an actor, Rickman had been a mentor. John McTiernan, director of Die Hard, said Rickman was the antithesis of the villainous roles for which he was most famous on screen. Sir Ian McKellen wrote, "behind [Rickman's] mournful face, which was just as beautiful when wracked with mirth, there was a super-active spirit, questing and achieving, a super-hero, unassuming but deadly effective."
Writer/Director Kevin Smith told a tearful 10 minute story about Rickman on his Hollywood Babble On podcast. Rickman's family offered their thanks "for the messages of condolence".