Alan Rickman dies aged 69

Feature by News Team | 14 Jan 2016

Alan Rickman, the much-loved actor famed for his bad guy roles in Die Hard and the Harry Potter films, has died aged 69

It has been confirmed today that Alan Rickman, the great British thespian who became Hollywood’s go-to baddie, has died aged 69 in London.

Rickman started his career as a stage and TV actor but he became famous the world over for his devilish turn as Hans Gruber in Die Hard, where he faced off against an equally iconic performance from Bruce Willis as detective John McClane. Rickman’s turn was so diabolically good that it set a new trend in Hollywood for bad guys to be played by Brits – thanks to Rickman the likes of Jeremy Irons, Charles Dance, Michael Sheen, Brian Cox, Tim Roth and Ralph Fiennes were never short of work.

But Alan Rickman remained Hollywood’s ultimate bad guy. He was hilariously monstrous as the Sheriff of Nottingham against a wooden Kevin Costner in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. And he terrified a new generation of fans with his turn as Professor Severus Snape, whose sarcasm was as intimidating as his dark magic, in the Harry Potter film series. In that role he used his distinctive voice to the max, delivering lines with sinister protractedness, dragging out every syllable.

Through all these roles he proved himself a great comedian. He was hilarious in Galaxy Quest as a Shakespearean actor slumming it on the sci-fi convention circuit and in Dogma as God’s emissary on Earth. He could also play the romantic lead, and shone in films like Truly, Madly, Deeply and Christmas favourite Love Actually.

He directed two films in his career. The first was Scottish drama The Winter Guest in 1995, which starred regular collaborator Emma Thompson, and then 17 years later he made A Little Chaos, which starred Kate Winslet and premiered at Glasgow Film Festival.

Rickman once said, "If people want to know who I am, it is all in the work." He's left a rich body of films behind for us all to get to know him.