Alan Rickman, one of Britain’s most-loved actors, has died aged 69, his family have confirmed. He had been suffering from cancer, and died in London on Thursday.
Rickman was perhaps most famous internationally for his role as Snape in the Harry Potter films, but was already a household name after playing Hans Gruber in Die Hard, the sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and the title role in Rasputin. While known for these villainous portrayals, he was warmly recieved in several romantic roles too, including Love, Actually, Truly, Madly, Deeply, and as Colonel Brandon in Emma Thompson’s Sense and Sensibility. A Rada graduate who began his work on stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company, he performed in major productions of Antony and Cleopatra and As You Like It.
He also directed two feature films, the acclaimed Scottish drama The Winter Guest and 2015’s period romance A Little Chaos, as well as the award-winning play My Name is Rachel Corrie.
Much-parodied for his trademark curling lips and monumental pauses, Rickman was happy to go along with the joke. He mocked this persona in Galaxy Quest (2000), as a Shakespearian-trained actor whose best-known role is an alien in a sci-fi franchise, and as a pompous colonel at the Battle of Waterloo in a Victoria Wood Christmas special.
Rickman was “a card-carrying member of the Labour party”, and was very involved with several charities. He met his wife, Rima Horton, an economics lecturer and Labour party councillor, at the age of 19. They married almost fifty years later in 2012.