ByKristina Mercado, writer at
Horror film fan, self-proclaimed nerd, entertainer of the masses
Kristina Mercado

During 2001 to 2011, the world came to know and love Alan Rickman as the notorious Professor Snape. He quickly became personified as the villain we loved to hate, and in the end, the one death that broke every Harry Potter fan's heart. Rickman's fantastic performance was at the forefront of everyone's minds, which caused his life and legendary career to be slightly overshadowed. It is with his last film, Alice Through The Looking Glass, coming to theaters May 27th, that all Alan Rickman fans will get to hear him one last time. With his final film coming up, we can't forget Rickman's humble beginnings and ridiculously amazing career that made him the star he will forever be known as.

Early Life

Rickman During His Time Latymer Upper School
Rickman During His Time Latymer Upper School

Alan Sydney Patrick Rickman was born on February 21, 1946, in West London, England. Rickman was born to Irish Catholic parents and is the second oldest of his parents' four children. His father worked in a factory and his mother was a housewife. Rickman described his childhood as a happy one, despite growing up poor. It was the death of his father when he was eight that left the darkest mark on his childhood memories. His father perished of lung cancer.

When Alan Rickman went off to college, he had already shown an interest in acting, appearing in several school plays; however, he chose to study graphic design and started his own company, Graphiti. It was at this point that he met his life partner, Rima Horton. After three years of running a successful business, at the age of 26, Rickman decided to pursue acting and applied to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

"There was an inevitability about my being an actor since about the age of 7, but there were other roads that had to be traveled first."

Early Career

Rickman as Sherlock Holmes with the RSC
Rickman as Sherlock Holmes with the RSC

In 1978, Rickman became part of the famous Royal Shakespeare Company, appearing in dozens of plays. Rickman, however, did not like the experience. He has commented that the young actors of RSC were overworked and never developed. He then went on to perform in numerous BBC soap operas.

Breakthrough Role

Rickman in Les Liasions Dangereuses
Rickman in Les Liasions Dangereuses

It wasn't until 1985 that Rickman received his big break. He landed the role of Vicomte de Valmont in Les Liasisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons). It was this role that would establish Rickman as an impeccably awesome villain. He performed this role in London and on Broadway, earning a Tony nomination for his nefarious character.

It wasn't long before Hollywood caught on to how well Rickman played characters with a penchant for evil. In 1998, Rickman was cast as German terrorist Hans Gruber in Die Hard.

"I got Die Hard," Rickman stated, "because I came cheap. They were paying Willis $7 million, so they had to find people they could pay nothing."

He appeared in one other movie after Die Hard until 1991, when he had quite a successful year, starring in wildly successful films Close My Eyes; Truly, Madly, Deeply; and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. It was Rickman's devilish portrayal of the Sheriff of Nottingham that cemented Rickman's image as the perfect villain.


Harry Potter

After his amazing year in 1991, Rickman's film output slowed down greatly, though he made several well-liked films such as Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny, for which he won Golden Globe and Emmy awards; Dogma; and Galaxy Quest, in which he had an amazingly hysterical performance.

It was in 2000, when J.K. Rowling requested that Rickman play the role of Professor Severus Snape in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Armed with the now infamous secret that Snape always loved Lily, Rickman went on to play the role he will forever be associated with throughout all eight films.


While filming the Harry Potter series, Rickman also starred in Love Actually and Nobel Son. He teamed up twice with Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (again as a villain) and Alice in Wonderland.

After finishing the wizarding series, Rickman went on to write and direct a one-woman play, star in The Butler as Ronald Reagan, and land the role of Hilly Kristal, owner of infamous New York punk rock club CBGB.

Life Out of Pictures

Alan Rickman and wife, Rima Horton
Alan Rickman and wife, Rima Horton

In 2012, Alan Rickman married his long time love, Rima Horton, in a secret ceremony in New York.

"It was great, because no one was there. After the ceremony in New York, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and ate lunch,” Rickman stated in the German magazine Bild.

Rickman also assisted with charities that helped develop the talent of impoverished youths who want to pursue work in the dramatic arts.


Rickman suddenly died on January 14, 2016 from cancer. He kept his diagnosis a secret from co-workers and fans, making his death all the more shocking.

Alan Rickman's final role was in Alice Through The Looking Glass; he voices the Blue Caterpillar.

The death of Alan Rickman left a hole in the heart of many. I personally cried when I found out. But it is important we remember his amazing career and take his life as a lesson in never giving up on our dreams.

"There are no words to express how shocked and devastated I am to hear of Alan Rickman's death," tweeted Rowling. "He was a magnificent actor & a wonderful man."

Which of Alan Rickman's roles will you always remember him by? Let us know in the comments!



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