- NAME: Alan Rickman
- OCCUPATION: Film Actor
- BIRTH DATE: February 21, 1946 (Age: 67)
- EDUCATION: Laytmer Upper School, Chelsea College of Art and Design, The Royal College of Art, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
- PLACE OF BIRTH: London, United Kingdom
- Full Name: Alan Sydney Patrick Rickman
- ZODIAC SIGN: Pisces
Best Known For
Born in London on February 21, 1946, this actor is best known for portraying memorable villains in films like Die Hard and Robin Hood: Prince of Theives.
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Born February 21, 1946, in West London, England, Alan Rickman showed an early penchant for the performing arts. He cut his teeth as an actor in 1978, when he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company. He earned a Tony as the star of 1988's Les Liaisons Dangereuses,
then came to American consciousness in 1988 as the impossibly evil terrorist Hans Gruber in the big-screen blockbuster Die Hard. His illustrious film career now includes the notable Harry Potter series, as well as Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) and Alice in Wonderland (2010).
Born February 21, 1946 in West London, England, Alan Sydney Patrick Rickman was the second of four children born to Bernard Rickman, an Irish Catholic factory worker, and Margaret Doreen Rose Rickman, a Welsh Methodist housewife. Rickman later recalled his early years as impoverished but very happy, until his father died of lung cancer when young Alan was just 8 years old.
After showing an early predilection for art, Rickman won a scholarship to Latymer Upper School in London, where he appeared in several school plays, and then studied graphic design at Chelsea College Of Art And Design and the Royal College Of Art. After graduating, he started a graphic design company, Graphiti, with some friends. He met his lifetime partner Rima Horton in 1965 while in the amateur Group Court Drama Club.
At age 25, Rickman decided to apply 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," he later said. "A voice in the head saying, 'It's time to do it. No excuses.'" Rickman supported himself through his two years at the RADA by taking freelance design jobs and by working as a set dresser.
In 1978, Alan Rickman joined the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company, appearing in The Tempest and Love's Labour's Lost, among others, although he disliked the experience: "It's a factory," he said. "It has to be. It's all about product endlessly churned out—not sufficiently about process. They don't look after the young actors... People are dropping like flies, doing too many shows at once. There ought to be someone who helps them develop." Moving on from the RSC, Rickman spent much of the rest of the 1980s acting in BBC serials, radio dramas and repertory theatre.
The turning point in Rickman's career came in 1985 when he took on the starring role of Le Vicomte de Valmont in Les Liaisons Dangereuses, a part that playwright Christopher Hampton (who adapted the script from an 18th-century French novel) developed with the actor specifically in mind. "Alan was able to transfix not only the viewer," Hampton said, "but he also seemed to have a kind of hypnotic effect on the people he was playing his scenes with." Rickman performed the unforgettably villainous role first in London's West End and then on Broadway, earning a Tony Award nomination.
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In true Albus Dumbledore fashion, Biography.com examines and provides insight on the cast of the illustrious Harry Potter film series, based on the popular books by author J.K. Rowling. Debuting with Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and ending with the two-part Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the eight-part film series continues to wow fans with its tales of witchcraft and wizardry. It also includes a gamut of stars, from Daniel Radcliffe, who plays the famous Harry; to Emma Watson, who plays Harry's best friend, Hermione; to Alan Rickman, known for his villainous role as Severus Snape; to Robert Pattinson, who plays the attractive Cedric Diggory, Harry's Triwizard Tournament rival; and more.
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Get more on the high-profile cast of The Butler, the 2013 biopic based on the life of longtime White House butler Eugene Allen, who served under eight U.S. presidents, including Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Over his decades-long career, Allen, an African American, witnessed firsthand the nation's changing perspectives on race, as well as several major historical events. Directed by Lee Daniels, The Butler stars Forest Whitaker as the title character and Oprah Winfrey as his wife. The film's large supporting cast includes Mariah Carey, Jane Fonda, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lenny Kravitz, Matthew McConaughey, Liev Schreiber, Vanessa Redgrave, Alan Rickman, John Cusack, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo and Robin Williams.
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