Alan Rickman, 1946–2016

We are saddened to report that Alan Rickman has passed away at the age of 69. The actor became an icon for playing Hans Gruber, the Sheriff of Nottingham, and of course Severus Snape.

Rickman was interested in drama as a child, but spent a few years of his life working as a graphic designer before finally deciding that he’d regret it if he didn’t try acting. He auditioned for RADA (the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) and landed a place there in his late 20s. He spent a decade on stage before taking his first film role, the instantly legendary turn as Hans Gruber in Die Hard. He followed that with a role as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood that nearly made that film watchable. He spoofed Spock with a his portrayal of Sir Alexander Dane/Dr. Lazarus in the cult classic Galaxy Quest, played the angel Metatron (the voice of God) in Dogma, and provided the perfect voice for Marvin the Paranoid Android in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

In 2001 he took the role that would endear him to a new generation of fans: Severus Snape, the Potions Master at Hogwarts. For the next decade he played Harry Potter’s teacher and nemesis, growing as the character did, and imbuing Snape with a sense of tragedy that provided a second heart to the films.

Alan Rickman was an extraordinary actor, and it’s a testament to his range that, most likely, each of you reading this has a personal favorite Rickman role. Time and again he took characters that could have been cardboard villains or easy caricatures, and made them real, flesh-and-blood, human. He will be greatly missed.

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