The word legend is applied to all sorts of people nowadays. From footballers to socialites and from singers to songwriters, it seems you don’t really need to do all that much for that status to fall firmly at your feet.
News broke earlier in the week that British actor Alan Rickman sadly passed away after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 69.
Here, Adam Brannon takes a look at the life of Rickman, and what made him such a joy to watch on screen.
Rickman was a legend and I’m not scared to apply that word to him in the slightest. From his humble beginnings acting in small theatre productions, to the movie world that brought him to the masses, he was and will always be a household name across the globe.
Alan was born in February 1946 and soon became intrigued in acting across all its platforms. His breakout role came in 1985 in the play Les Liaisons Dangereuses, for which he was nominated for a coveted Tony award.
The awards didn’t stop there. In 1995, he was chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history, entering in at number 34. Elsewhere, he was nominated for four BAFTAs, finally winning in 1991 on his second nod for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
As his career progressed, he starred in series’ that became loved across the world. Perhaps his most well-known are the roles of egotistical villain Hans Gruber in the very first Die Hard film and of course potions teacher Severus Snape in the monumentally popular Harry Potter series.
Rickman was the epitome of Harry Potter in many ways, and while the series was known for its spot-on casting choices, it was in his portrayal of Snape that fans truly found their bliss. Alan’s exceptional performances throughout the franchise of eight films racked up a staggering 11 nominations in many different award ceremonies.
Let’s not forget his roles in romantic comedy Love Actually, Dogma and of course Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd all of which cemented him as a British acting icon.
What many people didn’t know however is how talented Rickman was behind the camera, not just in front of it. In 1997 he released his directorial debut The Winter Guest. This little known drama starred lifelong friend Emma Thompson and was received well by critics.
In the busy spring season of 2015, Rickman’s second and final outing as director, A Little Chaos, was released. Following the story of a young gardener tasked with creating a masterpiece for the gardens of Versailles, it starred Academy Award winner Kate Winslet and Rickman himself.
Despite receiving less than favourable reviews from critics, A Little Chaos showcased an understated and classy vision, much like Rickman himself.
He was the perfect villain on-screen, but a perfect gentleman off it and the British film industry has lost one of its greatest-ever talents.
Alan leaves behind his wife Rima Horton, whom he met when he was 19. They were married in secret in 2012.
Let’s take a look at some of the tributes pouring in since Alan’s passing.
Dame Helen Mirren:
He was utterly distinctive, with a voice that could suggest honey or a hidden stiletto blade, and the profile of a Roman emperor. He was also a great friend, generous and social. He will be very missed by many.
There are no words to express how shocked and shocked and devastated I am to hear of Alan Rickman’s death. He was a magnificent actor & a wonderful man.
I’m very sad to hear about Alan today. I feel so lucky to have worked and spent time with such a special man and actor. I’ll really miss our conversations. RIP Alan. We love you.
He was, above all things, a rare and unique human being and we shall not see his like again.
Alan Rickman: 1946-2016