Alan Rickman Biography

(Actor and Director)

Birthday: February 21, 1946 (Pisces)

Born In: Hammersmith, London, England

Alan Rickman was a renowned actor, and former member of the ‘Royal Shakespeare Company.’ He rose to fame with his portrayal of ‘Le Vicomte de Valmont’ in ‘Les Liaisons Dangereuses.’ Rickman, a versatile stage actor, made an easy transition into films. Thanks to his impressive portrayal of ‘Hans Gruber’ in ‘Die Hard,’ he faced the danger of being typecast as a villain. He did not possess a strong muscular body or the unsettling glint in his eyes which one normally associates with a villain, but had something else that made him appropriate for playing characters with negative shades. The fact that he became typecast after playing a villain in just one film is a testimony to the acting skills of this great artist. Over the course of his long career, he also played comic and romantic roles. He also acted in television movies and his role as ‘Grigori Rasputin’ in the ‘HBO’ production ‘Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny’ won him a ‘Golden Globe Award.’ He played ‘Severus Snape’ in the ‘Harry Potter’ film series which increased his popularity as a film actor.

Quick Facts

British Celebrities Born In February

Also Known As: Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman

Died At Age: 69


Spouse/Ex-: Rima Horton (m. 2012)

father: Bernard Rickman

mother: Margaret Doreen Rose

siblings: David Rickman, Michael Rickman, Sheila Rickman

Born Country: England

Actors British Men

Height: 6'1" (185 cm), 6'1" Males

Died on: January 14, 2016

place of death: London, England

City: London, England

Notable Alumni: Royal College Of Art, Chelsea College Of Arts

Cause of Death: Pancreatic Cancer

More Facts

education: Royal Academy Of Dramatic Art, Royal College Of Art, Chelsea College Of Arts

  • 1

    Is Alan Rickman still alive?

    No, Alan Rickman passed away on January 14, 2016, at the age of 69.

  • 2

    What was Alan Rickman's first movie?

    Alan Rickman's first movie role was as Tybalt in the 1985 film "Romeo and Juliet."

  • 3

    Did Alan Rickman enjoy playing villains?

    Yes, Alan Rickman was known for his iconic portrayals of villains, which he enjoyed playing for the complexity and depth of the characters.

  • 4

    Was Alan Rickman a stage actor?

    Yes, Alan Rickman had a successful career as a stage actor, performing in numerous plays in London's West End and on Broadway.

  • 5

    Did Alan Rickman have a distinctive voice?

    Yes, Alan Rickman was renowned for his deep and distinctive voice, which added to his memorable performances on screen and stage.

Childhood & Early Life

Alan Rickman was born Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman on 21 February 1946, in Hammersmith, London, England, to Margaret Doreen Rose and Bernard Rickman as one of their four children. Alan was only eight at the time of his father’s death, post which his mother struggled to raise him and his siblings.

He attended ‘Derwentwater Primary School’ in Acton where he excelled in watercolor painting and calligraphy.

He went to ‘Latymer Upper School’ in London on a scholarship. It was here that he got involved in drama.

He enrolled at ‘Chelsea College of Art and Design’ and went on to attend the ‘Royal College of Art.’ Simultaneously, he also started working as a graphic designer for the popular newspaper ‘Notting Hill Herald.’

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After his graduation, he opened a graphic design studio called ‘Graphiti’ along with his friends. Though the studio ran successfully, he decided to pursue a career in acting after three years.

He auditioned with the ‘Royal Academy of Dramatic Art’ (RADA) and attended the prestigious drama school from 1972 to 1974.

He worked extensively with several British repertory theatre and experimental theatre groups including the ‘Royal Court Theatre’ after graduating from ‘RADA.’

In 1978, he played the role of ‘Tybalt’ in the play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ for ‘BBC Television Shakespeare,’ a television adaptation of William Shakespeare’s plays.

He portrayed ‘Obadiah Slope’ in the 1982 British television serial ‘The Barchester Chronicles.’ He won accolades for his performance in this TV adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s ‘Barchester’ novels.

He received a big break in 1988 when he was chosen to play the main antagonist ‘Hans Gruber’ in the action film ‘Die Hard.’ His portrayal of the urbane villain won him accolades from critics and industry experts.

In 1990, he appeared in the fantasy film ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’ in which he played ‘Jamie,’ a cellist who returns to his girlfriend as a ghost after his untimely death. The movie was very successful.

He once again played the villain in the 1991 adventure film ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.’ His performance as ‘George,’ the Sheriff of Nottingham, made him very popular.

The same year, he starred as ‘Sinclair Bryant,’ a rich and successful man whose wife has an extramarital affair, in ‘Close My Eyes.’ The movie won many awards.

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He landed one of his most acclaimed roles in 1996 when he was selected to play ‘Grigori Rasputin’ in the biographical television film ‘Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny’ for which he won a ‘Primetime Emmy Award.’

Even though he was an already established actor by the end of the 1990s, his career graph peaked during the new millennium. He portrayed the brilliant wizard and potions master ‘Severus Snape’ in the first installment of the ‘Harry Potter’ series, ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ in 2001.

In 2002, he reprised his role as ‘Severus Snape’ in ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.’

His portrayal of ‘Severus Snape’ in the hugely popular ‘Harry Potter’ series made him very famous. He went on to play the role in ‘Harry Potter’ movies, such as ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ (2004) and ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ (2005).

The character of ‘Severus Snape’ was one of the most complicated characters in the ‘Harry Potter’ series. The character’s true colors were never revealed till the very end. Rickman possessed charisma and looks to portray this character to perfection.

He went on to play ‘Severus Snape’ in all ‘Harry Potter’ movies, the final one being ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—Part II’ in 2011.

He also starred in films like ‘Gambit’ (2012), ‘The Butler’ (2013), ‘A Promise’ (2013), ‘CBGB’ (2013), ‘A Little Chaos’ (2014), and ‘Eye in the Sky’ (2015).

He made his last big-screen appearance in the 2016 American live-action/animated fantasy adventure film ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ where he voiced ‘Absolem The Caterpillar.’ The film was panned by critics and was a commercial failure.

Major Works

His role as the evil ‘Sheriff of Nottingham,’ the main antagonist, in the 1991 adventure film ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’ was one of his highly acclaimed ones. The movie was a big success and his portrayal of the villain was greatly appreciated.

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His most famous work is the portrayal of ‘Severus Snape,’ the skilled wizard and potions master, in the ‘Harry Potter’ film franchise. His appearance in the popular film series increased his popularity.

Awards & Achievements

He won the 1992 ‘BAFTA Film Award’ for ‘Best Actor in a Supporting Role’ for his portrayal of the ‘Sheriff of Nottingham’ in ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.’

In 1996, he won the ‘Primetime Emmy Award’ for ‘Outstanding Lead Actor – Miniseries or Movie’ for his portrayal of ‘Grigori Rasputin’ in ‘Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny.’ For the same role, he also won the ‘Golden Globe Award’ for ‘Best Actor’ in 1997.

Personal Life & Legacy

He was in a relationship with Rima Horton, a ‘Labour Party’ councilor and economics lecturer at ‘Kingston University.’ Alan Rickman married Horton in a private ceremony in 2012. They did not have any children.

Alan Rickman died of cancer on January 14, 2016, at the age of 69, in London.

Facts About Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman was known for his distinctive voice, which has been described as "sonorous" and "haunting," adding a unique charm to his performances.

In addition to his successful acting career, Rickman was also a talented director, having directed the film "The Winter Guest" in 1997.

Rickman was an avid art collector and supporter of the arts, often attending gallery openings and supporting emerging artists.

Despite his villainous roles in many films, Alan Rickman was known for his kindness and generosity towards his colleagues and fans, often going out of his way to support and encourage others in the industry.

Alan Rickman Movies

1. Die Hard (1988)

  (Action, Thriller)

2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

  (Adventure, Fantasy, Mystery, Drama)

3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

  (Mystery, Fantasy, Family, Adventure)

4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)

  (Mystery, Family, Adventure, Fantasy)

5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)

  (Fantasy, Adventure, Family)

6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

  (Mystery, Family, Adventure, Fantasy)

7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

  (Mystery, Family, Adventure, Fantasy)

8. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

  (Fantasy, Mystery, Family, Adventure)

9. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

  (Mystery, Fantasy, Family, Adventure)

10. Sense and Sensibility (1995)

  (Drama, Romance)


Golden Globe Awards
1997 Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television Rasputin (1996)
Primetime Emmy Awards
1996 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Special Rasputin (1996)
BAFTA Awards
1992 Best Actor in a Supporting Role Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)

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