Long-time acting legend Alan Rickman is dead, much to the sorrow of fans across the world. Much like Johnny Depp, he’s been in some of the most memorable roles ever conceived, and revealed an acting range rarely paralleled.
The role most of us remember him for was Professor Severus Snape, the center of one of the biggest plot twists in Harry Potter film history. The scene in which he confronts an unwitting Harry and points out how “clearly fame isn’t everything” could easily sum up Hollywood in general. Even the expression with which he delivered the line is one of many things about Alan that his fans will miss.
Alan Rickman’s career is dead packed with performances, even the least of which were memorable. He played the voice of the ever-depressed robot, Marvin, in The Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy, as well as the anatomically impaired Metatron from Kevin Smith’s Dogma. Alan delivered some of his most hilarious lines in the latter role, including the scene where Linda Fiorentino sprays him with a fire extinguisher. “Do you go around drenching everybody that comes into your room with flame retardant chemicals? No wonder you’re single.”
Rickman’s hilarious delivery even shined through when he played the Sheriff of Nottingham in Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. He was talking about cutting Robin’s heart out with a spoon, because “it’s dull, you twit. It’ll hurt more.”
One of Alan’s more intentional comedic roles was in Galaxy Quest, a film which served as a satire on Star Trek and its fans. The concept was that Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, and Rickman played thespians on a space exploration TV show, but aliens took their performances too seriously and the trio were sucked into a real problem actually happening in space. He was especially known for his hatred of the “Grabthar’s hammer” line.
Alan Rickman, despite his untimely death from cancer, did manage to play a role in the sequel to Johnny Depp’s Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass. The blue caterpillar Absolem is the last role he ever played, and though it might not be his best performance, to true fans, it will be like a final farewell.
Rickman has also been a recurring actor in the Johnny Depp and Tim Burton period, appearing as Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
Probably Alan’s first major role in a motion picture was as Hans Gruber, the first villain in the series which brought action veteran Bruce Willis into the spotlight, Die Hard. Even Seth Green’s Robot Chicken has taken jabs at the infamous reading of a dead man’s shirt, “Now I have a machine gun. Ho, ho, ho.” To this day, Rickman’s performance as Gruber is considered one of the best in the series, and his character received one of the best death scenes as well, falling away from a window while looking straight into the camera.
This launched Alan Rickman to stardom and earned him a way out of a career on TV, where his biggest role was as Obadiah Slope on The Barchester Chronicles in 1982. This didn’t leave Alan Rickman’s TV career dead, but it did give him a much more expansive audience when he moved on. He has since had a voice cameo on King of the Hill, among others.
Alan’s film career also features such performances as those in Quigley Down Under, Truly Madly Deeply, Sense and Sensibility, Love Actually, and 2014’s A Little Chaos, which he also directed.
With Alan Rickman now departed, which of his films will you plan on re-watching to honor the legendary actor?
[Photo via Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images]