Alan Rickman, Stage Legend and Harry Potter Icon, Dies at 69

Rickman most recently appeared on Broadway in Theresa Rebeck’s ”Seminar”.

Alan Rickman has died at the age of 69.
Alan Rickman has died at the age of 69.
(© David Gordon)

Alan Rickman, the beloved British actor and director of stage and screen known for his work in Les Liaisons Dangereuses and the Harry Potter film series, has died of cancer at the age of 69.

Rickman was born February 21, 1946, in Acton, London. Excelling at calligraphy and watercolor painting, Rickman won a scholarship to Latymer Upper School in London and later attended Chelsea College of Art and Design and the Royal College of Art. He became the graphic desginer for the Notting Hill Herald, opening a graphic design studio with friends called Graphiti after college.

In the 1970s, he decided that he was going to pursue acting, and requested an audition at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He attended from 1972-74, supporting himself by working as a dresser for the actors Nigel Hawthorne and Sir Ralph Richardson.

After working with the Royal Shakespeare Company, he performed the leading role in Christopher Hampton's of Les Liaisons Dangereuses in England. As the Vicomte de Valmont, Rickman transferred with the show to Broadway, receiving 1986 Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations in the process. His plethora of stage credits also include Antony and Cleopatra opposite Helen Mirren, Private Lives and John Gabriel Borkman opposite his Liaisons costar Lindsay Duncan, and Theresa Rebeck's Seminar on Broadway. He edited and directed the controversial play My Name Is Rachel Corrie.

Rickman was perhaps best known for his iconic screen roles: the German terrorist Hans Gruber in Die Hard, the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Rasputin, his Golden Globe- and Emmy-winning turn in Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny, Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Harry in Love Actually, and Severus Snape in all of the Harry Potter films.

Rickman is survived by his wife, Rima Horton.

Alan Rickman as Snape in the Harry Potter films.
Alan Rickman as Snape in the Harry Potter films.