Alan Rickman dies

Reporter: Charlotte Marshall, first published Thu 14 Jan 2016 13:43
Alan Rickman (Photo: Richard Young/REX Shutterstock)Alan Rickman (Photo: Richard Young/REX Shutterstock)/servlet/file/store5/item349578/version1/fileservice770/349578_770_preview.jpg

One of Britain’s greatest actors Alan Rickman has tragically died aged 69. The much-loved and hugely respected giant of stage and screen had been suffering from cancer.

The devastating news was announced today by his family, who confirmed Rickman passed away earlier today “surrounded by family and friends".

Born in London in 1946, Rickman trained at the prestigious RADA drama school and began his career performing on stage with both the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Court Theatre when the venue was in its experimental infancy.  

It was in the 1980s when Rickman’s career exploded, finding public acclaim in the hugely popular BBC drama The Barchester Chronicles and earning a Tony Award nomination for the Broadway transfer of the RSC’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses.

The next decade saw Rickman find his place as one of the screen’s best loved villains, employing his famously deep voice and unparalleled ability to crumble even the hardest of people with just one pointed sneer to star in Hollywood blockbusters including Die Hard and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

An actor of pure class and staggering versatility, Rickman’s career also saw him win hearts with moving performances in period romances, starring opposite Kate Winslet in Sense And Sensibility, and numerous dramas including Truly, Madly, Deeply and Love, Actually, in which he starred as Emma Thompson’s wayward husband.

While the full list of his film credits is hugely extensive, for younger generations the Golden Globe, BAFTA and Emmy Award winner will forever be marked in their memories in his role as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter film series.

On stage, the star’s later career saw his appearances come less frequently, but he did return to tread the boards on occasion, starring alongside Lindsay Duncan in both Ibsen’s John Gabriel Borkman at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre in 2010 and Private Lives, both in the West End and on Broadway, in 2001. His other many high profile theatrical co-stars included Helen Mirren, who he worked with at the National Theatre in 1998’s Antony And Cleopatra.

Rickman also turned his hand to directing, working at the Almeida Theatre in the mid-90s on The Winter Guest and My Name Is Rachel Corrie at the Royal Court Theatre in 2005.

Since news of his death was announced, friends, former colleagues and fans have taken to Twitter to express their sadness and to leave tributes and memories to the actor.

Rickman married his long-time partner Rima Horton in 2012. The pair were together for more than 50 years.