British actor Alan Rickman, best recognized as Professor Snape in the popular "Harry Potter" films among many other roles, has died at the age of 69 after battling cancer, his family announced on January 14, 2016.
Born to a working-class London family in 1946 and trained at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Rickman was often cast as the bad guy; with his rich, languid voice he could invest evil with wicked, irresistible relish.
In this photo, Rickman poses before a special family fundraising evening hosted by author J.K. Rowling in aid of her children's charity, Lumos, in London, November 9, 2013.
Professor Severus Snape
Rickman appears in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" as Professor Snape.
Millions know him from the Potter films, in which he played the potions and defense against the dark arts teacher Severus Snape, who was either a nemesis or an ally - possibly both - to the titular teenage wizard.
Frequently charming in person, Rickman was, by his own account, uncompromising as an actor. During the filming of the Harry Potter films, he maintained Snape's air of haughty disdain even off-camera.
Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling tweeted that "there are no words to express how shocked and devastated I am to hear of Alan Rickman's death. He was a magnificent actor (and) a wonderful man."
Pictured: Rickman as Professor Severus Snape in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2."
Cast members of "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" stand together before the preview at Radio City Music Hall in New York May 23, 2004. From left: director Alfonso Cuaron, producer David Heyman, Robbie Coltrane, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Alan Rickman, and producer Chris Columbus.
Rickman initially came to wide attention playing the psychopathic villain Hans Gruber who tormented Bruce Willis in the 1988 action movie, "Die Hard."
The actor was well known for playing an array of villains, including Judge Turpin in the 2007 musical, "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," co-starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.
"Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves"
Mohammed Saghir, the present-day Sheriff of Nottingham (now a ceremonial role in the English Midlands city) paid tribute to Alan Rickman's version of Robin Hood's famous foe in the 1991 film "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves," for which the actor won a BAFTA nomination: "His sheriff was a gloriously nasty character who it was easy to love to hate and who he appeared to have great fun playing."
"Sense and Sensibility"
Rickman's screen roles were remarkably varied, and included the upright Col. Brandon in Ang Lee's 1995 film version of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility," and Irish politician Eamon de Valera in the 1996 historical drama, "Michael Collins."
Alan Rickman played opposite Emma Thompson, as a married couple whose marriage ends up on the rocks because of Rickman's character infatuation with his secretary, in the 2003 romantic comedy, "Love Actually."
"Alan was my friend and so this is hard to write because I have just kissed him goodbye," wrote Thompson in a statement. "What I remember most in this moment of painful leave-taking is his humor, intelligence, wisdom and kindness."
Rickman had a sideline in comic sci-fi, bringing knowingness and fun to the 1999 "Star Trek" spoof, "Galaxy Quest," and delivering existential ennui as the voice of Marvin the Paranoid Android in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" (2005).
Alan Rickman & Jane Fonda
In 2013 Alan Rickman appeared as Ronald Reagan in the historical drama, "Lee Daniels' The Butler." Jane Fonda portrayed Nancy Reagan.
Actor Alan Rickman and director Patrice Leconte attend the premiere of "A Promise" during the 70th Venice Film Festival on September 4, 2013.
"A Little Chaos"
Rickman both directed and acted in the 2014 film "A Little Chaos," a period piece co-starring Kate Winslet.
Seventeen years earlier, he'd directed Emma Thompson and her mother, Phyllida Law, in "The Winter Guest."
Queen Elizabeth II meets guests, including Alan Rickman, during the Dramatic Arts reception at Buckingham Palace on February 17, 2014 in London.
Rickman maintained a stage presence in both London and on Broadway, where he earned two Tony Award nominations for Best Actor, for "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" ("Dangerous Liaisons") in 1987, and Noel Coward's "Private Lives" in 2002.
Rickman recently married his longtime love Rima Horton, whom he had been with since he was 19 and she was 18.
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