Die Hard and Harry Potter actor Alan Rickman dies aged 69

Alan Rickman, the renowned British actor famed for his magnetic voice and villainous roles, has died at the age of 69.

He was confirmed to have passed away earlier today after battling cancer. His family issued the following statement:

“The actor and director Alan Rickman has died from cancer at the age of 69. He was surrounded by family and friends.”

The London-born star began his career in theatre before winning roles in television dramas like Smiley’s People and The Barchester Chronicles in the 1980s.

But incredibly, his cinematic debut came in 1988 when he was cast as the devilishly sinister German terrorist Hans Gruber in the iconic action-thriller Die Hard (1988).

His performance made Gruber become one of cinema’s greatest ever villains which included him saying famous phrases like ” Nice suit. John Phillips, London. I have two myself.” and ” I’m going to count to three, there will not be a four. Give me the code.”

He followed that up with a more subtle role as Jamie in Anthony Minghella’s fantasy drama Truly, Madly, Deeply (1990) which won him a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor.

However he was soon back to villainous mode albeit a more camp performance as the sinister Sheriff of Nottingham in the historical blockbuster Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Incredibly, it won him the BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor, an inspired decision by them!

He then played Colonel Brandon in the romantic drama Sense & Sensibility (1995) before following that up with a Golden Globe win in Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Television Film for his role in Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny (1996).

He then ended the 90s with appearances in Michael Collins (1996), Dogma (1997) and Galaxy Quest (1999) before landing the key role of the mysterious Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series (2001-2011).

Throughout all eight Potter films, Rickman’s portrayal of Snape made him a favourite with young generations with his character’s emotional backstory revealed in the concluding installment Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II.

Rickman then played Emma Thompson’s unfaithful husband Harry in Richard Curtis’ Christmas rom-com Love Actually (2003) and was then back in bad guy mode again for another dark turn as Judge Turpin in Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007).

His more recent live-action roles included Perfume: Story of a Murderer (2006), Gambit (2012) and a surprise portrayal of President Ronald Reagan in Lee Daniel’s The Butler (2013). He also directed and starred in the historical drama A Little Chaos (2014) as King Louis XIV.

He also contributed his iconic voice in various productions including Help! I’m a Fish (2001), King of the Hill (2002), The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005) and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland (2010).

Coincidentally, his last role will be his reprisal of the Blue Caterpillar in the Wonderland sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass which is due out this year.

Rickman is survived by his wife Rima Horton but had no children.

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