Alan Rickman, February 21, 1946 — January 14, 2016

Alan Rickman, February 21, 1946 — January 14, 2016

Alan Rickman as Severus Snape-small

British actor Alan Rickman, known around the world for his spot-on portrayal of Slytherin wizard Severus Snape in all eight Harry Potter films, died today of cancer.

Alan Rickman burst into public consciousness with perhaps his finest film role — the arch villain Hans Gruber in Die Hard (1988), whom Maxim magazine called “The Finest Villain of Our Time.” He played the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) and Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility (1995). My wife and I still quote Rickman’s Colonel Brandon around the house. Science fiction fans especially enjoyed his marvelous portrayal of Alexander Dane/Dr. Lazarus (clearly based on Leonard Nimoy’s Spock) in Galaxy Quest (1999). He was cast as Severus Snape in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in 2001, and reprised the role seven times over the next ten years. He directed Emma Thompson and her real life mother Phyllida Law in his directorial debut, The Winter Guest (1995).

Alan Rickman began his career on stage in his late 20s; his first film role was the BBC TV’s 1978 broadcast of Romeo and Juliet. He provided the voice for Absolem the Caterpillar in Alice Through the Looking Glass, to be released later this year. He died this morning, at the age of 69.

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Sarah Avery

I want to beat cancer up with a brickbat. Again.

As Colonel Brandon put it, Give me something to do, or I shall run mad.

Thomas Parker

“By Grabthar’s Hammer…what a savings” may be the greatest line reading in the history of movies. Rob Schnieder and Adam Sandler live on and Alan Rickman dies – it truly is a meaningless universe…

Scott Taylor

People rarely speak of him in the Western Quigley Down Under, but he was fantastic in that as well. A personal favorite.

Bob Byrne

Back in 1976, Rickman played Sherlock Holmes on stage in Birmingham.

In his prime, he was the actor I most wanted to make a Holmes film.

Wild Ape

I never saw a mediocre performance from Rickman. His characters were all memorable from Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet to Die Hard, Galaxy Quest, and Slytherin. He was dynamic. I will miss him. If you wanted a villain to match up to a hero he was the man to make the experience catch fire. That is what made Kevin Costner and Bruce Willis stand out. Had the villain been less of a presence I doubt those movies would have gone the distance that they did. In Galaxy Quest he magnified the hilarity with Taggart urging him by saying, “The show must go on.” He won the Star Trek audience over. In Harry Potter he again brought the character from the evil Slytherin to the hero. Only a masterful actor can pull that off. Rickman never missed a step.

James McGlothlin

He was also did a great job playing the voice of Marvin the robot in the 2005 Hitchhikers movie (which I’m evidently in the minority for loving).

I know I’m saying this as a middle-aged guy, but man that’s too young to die! You will be missed sir.


Oh yes Marvin! I didnr like the movie at all, but Rickman as Marvins voice was a really, really good fit.

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