He is perhaps most cherished among younger fans for playing deceptive hero Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films; a malicious, slithering and petty professor on the surface, but deep down driven by good.
Here we reproduce his thoughtful and heartfelt goodbye letter to the role which he penned for Empire in 2011, shortly after wrapping on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.
'I have just returned from the dubbing studio where I spoke into a microphone as Severus Snape for absolutely the last time. On the screen were some flashback shots of Daniel, Emma, and Rupert from ten years ago. They were 12. I have also recently returned from New York, and while I was there, I saw Daniel singing and dancing (brilliantly) on Broadway. A lifetime seems to have passed in minutes.
Three children have become adults since a phone call with Jo Rowling, containing one small clue, persuaded me that there was more to Snape than an unchanging costume, and that even though only three of the books were out at that time, she held the entire massive but delicate narrative in the surest of hands.
It is an ancient need to be told in stories. But the story needs a great storyteller. Thanks for all of it, Jo.
Rickman's family said in a statement: “The actor and director Alan Rickman has died from cancer at the age of 69. He was surrounded by family and friends.”
He was born in Acton, west London. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and after graduating began his career on stage working in productions with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
He is best known for the Harry Potter series, Die Hard and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, though if you're planning a Rickman binge, start with his 2010 gem The Song of Lunch, a stream-of-consciousness BBC adaptation of a poem about red wine and loves lost.
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