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 the 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.
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.
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’ councillor and economics lecturer at the ‘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.