Legendary British actor Alan Rickman has died aged 69, his agent has confirmed.
One of the best-known actors of his generation, Rickman enjoyed a successful career that spanned five decades, starring in critically acclaimed productions on both stage and screen.
Best known to many film fans for his role as Hans Gruber in Die Hard and Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise, Rickman appeared in a huge number of films throughout his career including Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Truly Madly Deeply, Galaxy Quest, Rasputin and Love Actually.
Rickman has two films yet to be released. He stars in Eye in the Sky (set for an April 2016 release) with Helen Mirren and Aaron Paul and voices a character in Tim Burton’s Alice Through the Looking Glass (scheduled for 27th May).
Rickman won a Bafta in 1991 for his role in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and a Golden Globe for his role as Rasputin in HBO’s 1997 biopic.
Upon accepting his Bafta award for his role as the Sheriff of Nottingham, he joked, “This will be a healthy reminder to me that subtlety isn’t everything.”
But it was his performances as Snape in the Harry Potter movies that won him universal acclaim.
“It was a punctuation mark in my life every year because I would be doing other things but always come back to that and I was always aware of my place in the story even as others around me were not,” Rickman told the LA Times in 2011.
JK Rowling had told Rickman the secret of Snape’s role in Harry Potter even before the book series had finished. “I knew with Snape I was working as a double agent, as it turns out, and a very good one at that,” Rickman said.
Thanks to Harry Potter, Rickman reunited with many great British actors with whom he had worked before. Juliet Stevenson had starred opposite him in Truly, Madly Deeply, while Emma Thompson and Rickman appeared in seven films together, including Love, Actually in 2003.