Remembering Alan Rickman

By Kate Hassett

Remembering Alan Rickman
The world loses another great man as British actor Alan Rickman passes away, aged 69.

Actors are agents of change,” Alan Rickman said. “A film, a piece of theatre, a piece of music, or a book can make a difference. It can change the world.

The actor, famous for his roles in the Harry Potter films, Die Hard and Love Actually, has died at the age of 69.

A graduate of London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Rickman was as well known for his compelling stage career as his menacing portrayals of villainous characters on screen. His wit, charm and undeniable talent was responsible for bringing to life the complex, but beloved, Severus Snape – leading to a lifelong fan base of millions of Harry Potter devotees.

Author JK Rowling said: “There are no words to express how shocked and devastated I am to hear of Alan Rickman’s death. He was a magnificent actor & a wonderful man”, while Michael Gambon, who played Dumbledore, said: “Everybody loved Alan. He was always happy and fun and creative and very, very funny.”

Whilst the last movie in the Harry Potter series was released in July 2011, Rickman published a poignant farewell in Empire of April that year.

“I have just returned from the dubbing studio where I spoke into a microphone as Severus Snape for absolutely the last time. On the screen were some flashback shots of Daniel, Emma, and Rupert from ten years ago. They were 12. I have also recently returned from New York, and while I was there, I saw Daniel singing and dancing (brilliantly) on Broadway. A lifetime seems to have passed in minutes.

Three children have become adults since a phone call with Jo Rowling, containing one small clue, persuaded me that there was more to Snape than an unchanging costume, and that even though only three of the books were out at that time, she held the entire massive but delicate narrative in the surest of hands.

It is an ancient need to be told in stories. But the story needs a great storyteller. Thanks for all of it, Jo.

Alan Rickman

In response to Alan’s passing, many of his co-stars and close friends have spoken about the tragedy of his untimely death.

Actor Daniel Radcliffe, who had worked with Rickman over the course of  a decade, shared his poignant epitaph to a man he counted as a treasured friend.

Alan Rickman is undoubtedly one of the greatest actors I will ever work with. He is also, one of the loyalest and most supportive people I’ve ever met in the film industry. He was so encouraging of me both on set and in the years post-Potter. I’m pretty sure he came and saw everything I ever did on stage both in London and New York. He didn’t have to do that. I know other people who’ve been friends with him for much much longer than I have and they all say “if you call Alan, it doesn’t matter where in the world he is or how busy he is with what he’s doing, he’ll get back to you within a day”.

“As an actor he was one of the first of the adults on Potter to treat me like a peer rather than a child. Working with him at such a formative age was incredibly important and I will carry the lessons he taught me for the rest of my life and career. Film sets and theatre stages are all far poorer for the loss of this great actor and man.”


Some of Rickman’s best roles

  • Hans Gruber, Die Hard (1988)
  • Sheriff of Nottingham, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
  • Jamie, Truly, Madly, Deeply (1991)
  • Colonel Brandon, Sense and Sensibility (1995)
  • Alexander Dane, Galaxy Quest (1999)
  • Harry, Love Actually (2003)
  • Professor Severus Snape, Harry Potter series (2002-2011)

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