Alan Rickman, of Harry Potter and Love Actually fame, has passed away aged 69.
The news has come as a shock to fans around the world who were not aware that he was unwell. As BBC News reports, Alan Rickman’s family has revealed that the actor had been suffering with cancer.
“The actor and director Alan Rickman has died from cancer at the age of 69. He was surrounded by family and friends.”
For the younger generations, Alan Rickman was famous for his role as Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise, while older fans may remember him best as “the bad guy” in Die Hard, Hans Gruber.
The Guardian reports that he had a long and illustrious career with roles in many movies, such as Love Actually, Sense and Sensibility, Die Hard, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and Truly, Madly, Deeply.
It was his role in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves as the Sheriff of Nottingham that won him a BAFTA, according to the Guardian, who recalled that he stole the attention from “a slightly stunned looking Kevin Costner” with classic lines.
“No more merciful beheadings! And call off Christmas!”
Alan Rickman was also a man of the stage, perhaps the setting in which his talent could truly shine. He worked for the Royal Shakespeare Company and he also appeared in such productions as Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Private Lives, and John Gabriel Borkman. As a director of plays and films, Alan Rickman also had a breadth of work that showed his true talent. His first work as director was directing Emma Thompson and her mother, Phyllida Law, in The Winter Guest.
Countless people around the world made Alan Rickman part of their annual holiday celebrations, with Love Actually becoming one of the most popular Christmas favorites in recent years. Rickman played Harry, married to Emma Thompson’s character Karen, who was a “classic fool,” as he called himself, by choosing to become involved in an office affair with his co-worker.
As the Guardian noted, “Alan Rickman always had a base-level of unexpected lovability, no matter how acid his barbs.”
Although the Guardian was referring to his role in Harry Potter, this sentiment remained true for many of his roles, including his role in Love Actually. For as much as viewers witnessed Emma Thompson’s character’s raw emotions upon finding out about her husband’s affair, viewers still somehow managed to sympathize equally with both characters.
But as it turns out, his role in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter had a profound effect on Rickman. One of many people’s favorite Alan Rickman quotes revealed that the actor planned to still read the books in his retirement.
— Always J.K. Rowling (@AlwaysJKRowling) January 14, 2016
Although Alan Rickman didn’t make it to 80 years of age, it is comforting to know that he gained so much pleasure from one of his most prolific roles.
A Harry Potter video popular on the internet in 2015 showed all of Snape’s scenes in chronological order, casting a new light on the character and allowing viewers to witness the saga from an entirely different point of view.
There has been an outpouring of grief over the loss of Alan Rickman. James Phelps, who played Fred Weasley in the Harry Potter films said on Twitter that he was shocked and sad.
Shocked & sad to hear Alan Rickman has passed away. One of the nicest actors I've ever met.Thoughts and prayers with his family at this time
— James Phelps (@James_Phelps) January 14, 2016
James’ brother, Oliver Phelps, who played George Weasley in the Harry Potter films also tweeted his sadness at the passing of Alan Rickman.
Terribly sad news about the passing of Alan Rickman. A funny and engaging person who put a shy young actor at ease when I was on HP.
— Oliver Phelps (@OliverPhelps) January 14, 2016
“Very sad to hear that Alan Rickman has passed away. One of the greatest actors of his generation. My thoughts are with his family and friends.”
Others have taken to Twitter to express their grief over Alan Rickman’s death and there is sure to be an outpouring from many more over the coming days.
I do not want my heroes to die! Alan Rickman is dead & he was another hero. Alan – thank you for being with us. We are sorry you had to go
— Eddie Izzard (@eddieizzard) January 14, 2016
What desperately sad news about Alan Rickman. A man of such talent, wicked charm & stunning screen & stage presence. He'll be sorely missed
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) January 14, 2016
Unfortunately, Alan Rickman was never awarded an Oscar for his work, although he did receive a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA, and an Emmy Award, among others. In 2008 he said it was the part, not the actors, that won prizes. He also knew that levity was his main tool in treating his work seriously.
“Actors are agents of change. A film, a piece of theatre, a piece of music, or a book can make a difference. It can change the world.”
Indeed, Alan Rickman helped to change the world by bringing with him a performance with such intensity and originality that the passion seeped into his audience as if through osmosis. Fans of Alan Rickman will be grieving his death for some time to come and Britain now has a double dose of tragedy, having lost the great David Bowie on January 10.
For those who are fans of Alan Rickman, there are still two movies to be released this year that features his talents. Eye in the Sky is a thriller in which Rickman stars alongside Helen Mirren and Aaron Paul. The movie will be released on March 11.
Rickman will also be in Alice: Through the Looking Glass, in which he reprises his role as the blue caterpillar. The movie is set to be released on May 27.
It will be good for fans to be able to soak up the final performances Alan Rickman gave the world.
Alan Rickman leaves behind his wife, Rima Horton.
Congratulations to Alan Rickman and his new wife Rima Horton who married secretly in NYC! pic.twitter.com/HKaI3kILn3
— Pamela Waters (@harborprincess) June 12, 2015
According to Good to Know, the couple met at Chelsea College of Art and began dating when Rickman was 19-years-old and finally decided to marry in a civil ceremony last year. Alan Rickman has no children.
[Photo by MJ Kim/Getty Images]