- NAME: Alan Rickman
- OCCUPATION: Film Actor
- BIRTH DATE: February 21, 1946 (Age: 68)
- 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
- AKA: Alan Rickman
- ZODIAC SIGN: Pisces
Best Known For
Alan Rickman is best known for portraying memorable villains in films like Die Hard and the Harry Potter film series.
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In 1988, Les Liaisons Dangereuses made the leap to the big screen (as Dangerous Liaisons) and the well-known actor John Malkovich took over the iconic part. But Rickman made his mark.
Having impressed as the deliciously malevolent Vicomte de Valmont, Rickman was soon tapped for his first Hollywood film role, as the impossibly evil terrorist Hans Gruber (ultimately foiled by Bruce Willis' heroic cop John McClane) in Die Hard (1988). "I got Die Hard," Rickman later recalled, "because I came cheap. They were paying Willis $7 million so they had to find people they could pay nothing."
But 1991 was a big year for Alan Rickman, as he starred in three different Top 10 movies: Close My Eyes; Truly, Madly, Deeply; and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, in which he played an unforgettably arch Sheriff of Nottingham. This role, accentuating the first impression made in Die Hard, cemented Rickman's image as a "villain actor"—a title Rickman dislikes: "I don't see any of [my roles] as one word. It doesn't matter what I'm playing: it's not one word, and I think any actor would say the same."
After his prolific year in 1991, Rickman's output slowed down a bit later in the 1990s, although he made well-received appearances in Sense and Sensibility (1995) and in the title role of Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny (1996), for which he received a Golden Globe and a Primetime Emmy. He also co-wrote and directed his first feature film, The Winter Guest, in 1997, featuring his Sense and Sensibility co-star Emma Thompson and her real-life mother Phyllida Law. Rickman also made successful comedic turns in 1999's Dogma and Galaxy Quest.
Rickman's next high-profile role came in the 2000s, when he took on the key part of Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies. J.K. Rowling specifically wanted Rickman for the role, briefing him on unpublished backstory about the character to help him prepare for the role. "I said to Jo Rowling, 'Look, I can't play him unless I know him.' She then gave me this elliptical piece of information that I didn't really understand at first. It was information she hadn't told anyone else, not even her sister, but it gave me what I needed to take on Snape." Rickman reprised the role in all eight films.
Rickman's other films in the 2000s include Love Actually (2003), Snow Cake (2006), Nobel Son (2007) and Bottle Shock (2008). He twice collaborated with Tim Burton, in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) and Alice in Wonderland (2010). He also wrote and directed a one-woman play, My Name is Rachel Corrie, winning good reviews in both London and New York City.
Now into his fifth decade as an actor, Rickman continues to impress audiences on both stage and screen. He plans to direct more films in the future, as well as continue to act. When asked if he ever tired of his life on center stage, Rickman replied, "No, life has shifting horizons so you might as well keep swimming."
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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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