Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman {1946-2016}


By Grabthar’s Hammer, you shall be avenged …

Alan Rickman is a man that I have been in adoration of since Die Hard. A brilliance that the world of entertainment rarely has the pleasure of witnessing and his career, his performances? They changed us all in some way or another. Today upon hearing the news of his losing his fight to cancer, all I can say is I feel a tremendous sense of loss. He was so remarkably talented and whether he was delivering a quick witted line or playing a villain we love to hate or endearing us with his rendition of Shakespeare, it is safe to say the world has suffered a huge loss. Accompanied by the iconic rock legend, David Bowie who also passed away this week, it’s painfully hard not to shout at the top of my lungs: F*CK CANCER.

We live our lives assuming tomorrow will inevitably come for us or that our health will be tip top. The thing is, we can’t be certain. These two men that gifted the world with their generosity of spirit and truly sensational talent were the beacons of originality. I’ve watched, Love Actually at least fifty times and Harry Potter came to live every time Professor Snape came on scene. So I implore you, in his honor, to watch these 5 films you may not have seen:

  1. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
  2. Something the Lord Made
  3. Sense and Sensibility
  4. Sense and Sensibility
  5. Dogma

I’ve worked in film and entertainment for 22 years and from the moment I began, Alan Rickman was among those I was eager to work with. I’m sad to say I didn’t get that opportunity. His uncanny ability to deliver any line with conviction and fervor and grace and style is what made him so damn brilliant. He was, as Steve Martin suggests, so good you couldn’t ignore him.

Alan: You made me want to write roles that had panache. Thank you for gracing us with your presence and your talent for so many years. Your laugh, scowl, voice, and wit will be dearly missed.

Alan Rickman was born on a council estate in Acton, West London, to Margaret Doreen Rose (Bartlett) and Bernard Rickman, who worked at a factory. He has English, Irish, and Welsh ancestry. Alan has an older brother David, a younger brother Michael and a younger sister Sheila. When Alan was 8 years old, his father died. He attended Latymer Upper School on a scholarship. He studied Graphic Design at Chelsea College of Art and Design, where he met Rima Horton, who would later become his life partner. After three years at Chelsea College, Rickman did graduate studies at the Royal College of Art. He opened a successful graphics design business, Graphiti, with friends and ran it for several years before his love of theatre led him to seek an audition with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). At the relatively late age of 26, Rickman received a scholarship to RADA, which started a professional acting career that has lasted nearly 40 years, with no signs of stopping, a career which has spanned stage, screen and television and has lapped over into directing, as well.

Rickman first came to the attention of American audiences as “Vicomte de Valmont” in “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” on Broadway in 1987 (he was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance in the role). Denied the role in the film version of the show, Rickman instead made his first movie appearance opposite Bruce Willis in Die Hard (1988) as the villain, “Hans Gruber”. Rickman’s take on the urbane villain set the standard for screen villains for decades to come. Though often cited as being a master of playing villains, Rickman has actually played a wide variety of characters, such as the romantic cello-playing ghost “Jamie” in Anthony Minghella‘s Truly Madly Deeply (1990) and the noble “Colonel Brandon” of Sense and Sensibility (1995). He’s treated audiences to his comedic abilities with films like Dogma (1999), Galaxy Quest (1999) and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005), and roles like “Dr. Alfred Blalock” in Something the Lord Made (2004) and “Alex Hughes” in Snow Cake (2006), showcase his ability to play ordinary men in extraordinary situations. Rickman even conquered the daunting task of singing a part in a Stephen Sondheim musical as he took on the part of “Judge Turpin” in the movie adaptation of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007).

In 2001, Rickman introduced himself to a whole new, and younger, generation of fans by taking on the role of “Severus Snape” in the movie versions of J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001). He has continued to play the role through the eighth and last movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011).


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