Alan Rickman dead: British actor and theatre legend has died aged 69

Heather Saul
Thursday 14 January 2016 13:34 GMT
Alan Rickman dies aged 69

Alan Rickman, the celebrated British film and stage actor best known for roles in Harry Potter, Robin Hood and Die Hard, has died aged 69 after suffering from cancer.

Rickman passed away in London with his family by his side. His 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.”

Rickman was born in Acton, west London, in 1946. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and began his career on stage after graduating, appearing in productions with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Known for his gravelly voice and dominating presence on screen, he also had memorable roles in films such as Love Actually and a Bafta award-winning turn as the Sheriff in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. His breakout role arrived in the form of the scheming Vicomte de Valmont in an acclaimed 1985 RSC production of “Les Liaisons Dangereuses", but he was not propelled to international fame until he landed the part of Bruce Willis’ arch enemy Hans Gruber in Die Hard, aged 41.

Rickman was honoured with a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy Award for his leading role in 1995 film Rasputin. He was unfazed about never winning an Academy Award, telling a US network in 2008: “Parts win prizes, not actors.”

Read Alan Rickman's goodbye letter to Snape and Harry Potter fans

Rickman appeared in all of the Harry Potter films as potions director Severus Snape, a villain who eventually redeems himself. JK Rowling said there were no words to describe her devastation at losing such a "magnificent and wonderful man".

Stephen Fry led an outpouring of tributes to Rickman from his friends, fellow actors and legion of fans. “What desperately sad news about Alan Rickman,” he wrote on Twitter. “A man of such talent, wicked charm and stunning screen and stage presence. He'll be sorely missed.”

Harry Potter actor James Phelps, who played Fred Weasley, said Rickman was “one of the nicest actors I've ever met”.

Most iconic Alan Rickman scenes: Harry Potter; Die Hard; and more.

The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn praised Rickman as “one of the greatest actors of his generation”. “My thoughts are with his family and friends,” he wrote.

His death comes just days after the passing of iconic singer and artist David Bowie, who also died aged 69 from cancer. The comedian Eddie Izzard said he had lost another hero, writing: “I do not want my heroes to die! Alan Rickman is dead and he was another hero. Alan - thank you for being with us. We are sorry you had to go.”

He wed his partner of 50 years, economics lecturer and Labour councillor Rima Horton, in a quiet ceremony in 2012. He had no children.

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