Alan Rickman, one of the best-cherished and one of the most appreciated British on-screen characters of the past 30 years, has died in London aged 69. His demise was affirmed by his family who said that he passed away “encircled by family and companions”. Rickman had been suffering from cancer.
Rickman, with his style and features, made a million fans with his role as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter movies. His co-workers on those films were among the first to pay tribute to the on-screen character. In an extensive post, Daniel Radcliffe wrote that “Rickman was one of the best performing artists I will ever work with” and “one of the loyalist and most strong individuals I’ve ever met in the film business”.
JK Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books, said: “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”, while Michael Gambon, who played Dumbledore, said: “Everybody loved Alan. He was always happy and fun and creative and very, very funny.”
Rickman had been a big-screen staple since first shooting to worldwide recognition in 1988, when he featured as Hans Gruber, Bruce Willis’ cynical, devious enemy in Die Hard – a section he was offered two days after arriving in Los Angeles, aged 41.
Gruber was the first of three dominant antagonist played by Rickman: he was a preposterous sheriff of Nottingham in 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and additionally an alarming Rasputin in an acclaimed 1995 HBO film.
In any case, Rickman was a leading actor: in 1991, he was featured as a cellist inverse Juliet Stevenson in Anthony Minghella’s influencing heavenly sentiment Truly, Madly, Deeply; after four years he was the decent and humble Col Brandon in Sense and Sensibility, featuring and scripted by Emma Thompson. He was to rejoin with Thompson generally: they played spouse and wife in 2003’s Love, Actually and previous mates in 2010 BBC show The Song of Lunch.
A year ago, Rickman united with Kate Winslet, another Sense and Sensibility co-star, for his second film as director, A Little Chaos – a periodic set romance in the gardens of Versailles.
Yet it was Rickman’s work in front of an audience that built him up as a compelling talent, and to which he returned all throughout his career.
His incredible leap forward came in 1986 as Valmont, the severe tempter in Christopher Hampton’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses. This brought him the first of two Tony Award nominations.
All this while, he kept on being noteworthy personality on the stage in London and New York. Another Tony nomination came his way for Private Lives in 2002, in which he showed up inverse Lindsay Duncan on Broadway taking after an exchange from London.