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Alan Rickman: Eclectic canon testament to his gift for acting

By Lorna Cooper

Published 15/01/2016

Alan Rickman in the role that terrified millions children - Severus Snape, the a fictional character in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series
Alan Rickman in the role that terrified millions children - Severus Snape, the a fictional character in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series
2011: Alan Rickman signs autographs as he arrives for the North American premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 at Lincoln Center in New York. AFP PHOTO / STAN HONDASTAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images
1998: Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman during a photocall rehearsal for 'Anthony and Cleopatra' at the Olivier Theatre on London's South Bank. John Stillwell/PA Wire
2008: Alan Rickman, Tim Burton, Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Depp and Timothy Spall at the premiere of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at the Odeon West End Cinema, Leicester Square, London. Joel Ryan/PA Wire
Alan Rickman was the host at 'Hollywood Salutes Bruce Willis: An American Cinematheque Tribute' at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills, Ca. 9/23/00. Rickman came out onstage with crutches after a clip was shown of him falling to his death in a Bruce Willis film. Photo:Kevin Winter/ImageDirect.
1999 Alan Rickman stars in the new movie "Galaxy Quest." Photo Dreamworks
2015: Alan Rickman in front of the Qatar Tourism wall of flowers containing 35,000 carnations during day two of the Glorious Goodwood Festival, Chichester. John Walton/PA Wire
2001: Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson at London's Ivy Restaurant, helping to launch ActionAid Week. Johnny Green/PA Wire
Alan Rickman and his partner Labour Councillor Rima Horton arrive for the 50th anniversary gala of the NFT at the National Film Theatre on the South Bank in London. Yui Mok/PA Wire
2010: Frances de la Tour, Alan Rickman, Tom Wilkinson and Andy de la Tour perform at the Concert For Haiti, sponsored by the TUC, at Congress House in London. Rickman has died from cancer aged 69, his family said. Ian West/PA Wire
2010: Alan Rickman attends the world premier of "Alice in Wonderland" at the Odeon Cinema in London's Leicester Square. AFP PHOTO / CARL COURTCARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images
2007: Alan Rickman arrives for the premiere of "Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street" in New York. AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS ROBERTSNICHOLAS ROBERTS/AFP/Getty Images
2003: Alan Rickman is seen during a press conference for the premiere of the film "Love actually" in Paris. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYSGABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images
2012: Alan Rickman walks on the red carpet as he arrives to attend the World Premier for the film 'Gambit' in Leicester Square, central London. AFP PHOTO / ANDREW COWIEANDREW COWIE/AFP/Getty Images
2009: Alan Rickman arrives at the New York premier of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in New York. AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERTDON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images
2013: Alan Rickman poses during the photocall of "Une Promesse" presented out of competition at the 70th Venice Film Festival at Venice Lido. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYSGABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images
2015: Alan Rickman poses for photographers on the red carpet for the UK premiere of the film "A Little Chaos" in central London. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
2010: The Prince of Wales (left) meets Alan Rickman on arriving for the Royal world premiere of Alice in Wonderland at the Odeon, Leicester Square, London. Ian West/PA Wire
2015: Helen McCrory, Alan Rickman and Kate Winslet attending the UK premiere of the film A Little Chaos at the Odeon Kensington, London. Ian West/PA Wire
2006: Sigourney Weaver with Director Marc Evans and co-star Alan Rickman at the Dominion theatre in Edinburgh for the Premier of Snow Cake during the Edinburgh International Festival. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
2001: Alan Rickman as 'Elyot' and Lindsay Duncan as 'Amanda' at a photocall for Howard Davies's production of Noel Coward's "Private Lives" at the Albery Theatre in London. Peter Jordan/PA Wire
2000: Queen Elizabeth II meeting actors Juliet Stevenson and Alan Rickman at the opening of the new premises of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Ian Jones/Daily Telegraph/PA Wire
1999: Linda Fiorentino, Alan Rickman, Ben Affleck and Salma Hayek on the rooftop of the Palais des Festivals, promoting their latest movie "Dogma", directed by Kevin Smith during the 52nd Annual International Cannes Film Festival 1999. Neil Munns/PA Wire
2001: Comedian Vic Reeves, comedian and host Eddie Izzard, actor Alan Rickman and comedian Harry Enfield on stage during a photocall prior to the 'We Know Where You Live. Live!' event to mark the 40th anniversary of Amnesty International at London's Wembley Arena. William Conran/PA Wire

The career of award-winning star Alan Rickman began on the stage after he graduated from drama school Rada.

Rickman frequently returned to the stage throughout his career, but he was also lauded for key movie roles in front of the camera.

Here are eight of his best known vehicles.

Die Hard

Rickman's portrayal of German terrorist Hans Gruber introduced him to an international audience in 1988. The film, starring Bruce Willis, who had made his name on television in Moonlighting, was a surprise hit.

Truly Madly Deeply

Anthony Minghella's 1990 romantic feature fantasy remains a favourite for many movie fans. Rickman gave a stellar performance as Jamie, the deceased boyfriend of Nina, played by Juliet Stevenson.

Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves

US actor Kevin Costner was the unlikely star, but Rickman stole every scene as the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham.

The 1991 role deservedly earned Rickman a Bafta as best actor in a supporting role.

Sense And Sensibility

Jane Austen fans approved of Rickman's assured performance as Colonel Brandon in Ang Lee's 1995 adaptation, written by Emma Thompson. The acclaimed thespian received a Bafta nomination as best supporting actor.


In this 1996 dramatisation, Rickman was in commanding form in the title role of the Russian monk. Lauded for the portrayal, he won an Emmy for lead actor in a mini-series or special.

Galaxy Quest

The 1999 comedy about the cast of a defunct 1970s sci-fi TV show was a moderate success at the time. However, it has attained cult status due to its not-so-subtle parody of Star Trek.

Harry Potter

Rickman made an indelible impression as Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies. A complex, half-blood wizard, few could have encapsulated the role of Snape as he did.

Love Actually

In this 2003 hit, Rickman's character Harry fooled around with his secretary Mia played by Heike Makatsch. Although this storyline is somewhat ambiguous in terms of its ending, there is no doubt about Rickman's convincing portrayal.

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