We have sadly learned that Alan Rickman, the British actor who made a huge name for himself as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, has passed away at the age of 69. ComicBook.com reports that Rickman’s family confirmed his death after a lengthy battle with cancer Thursday morning.
Rickman’s breakout role was the villainous Hans Gruber in Die Hard, where he impressed millions of viewers with his distinctive British accent and deliberate diction. Rickman was best known for playing villains in movies, most notably as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films and the Sheriff of Nottingham in the 1991 version of Robin Hood. One of most acclaimed roles was as the mad monk Rasputin in the 1995 HBO film Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny, which earned him both an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award. However, he could also play romantic roles too, such as in the popular films Sense and Sensibility and Love Actually.
Rickman also had a notable stage career, having performed in the Royal Shakespeare Company and earning two Tony nominations during his career. Rickman would later spoof his Shakespearean trained background in (one of our favorite films) GalaxyQuest, when he played a classically trained actor better known for his role in a cult sci-fi TV series.
Rickman’s distinctive features and voice gained him an immense number of fans. A 2008 study determined the perfect male voice to be a combination of Rickman’s and fellow actor Jeremy Irons. He often lent his voice to different unexpected roles, voicing the angel Metatron in Dogma, Marvin the Android in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Absolem the Caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland.
Rickman will appear in Eye in the Sky, a British thriller about drones, and in Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass as Absolem the Caterpillar.
Rickman is survived by his wife, Rima Horton.