Alan Rickman: 1946-2016

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Alan Rickman, the legendary British actor famous for his roles as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter series and Hans Gruber in Die Hard, passed away this morning after a battle with cancer, his family said.

Rickman had a long and varied career that spanned both the screen and the stage. He trained at England’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where he won numerous prizes, before delving into British theater and television throughout the 1970s and ‘80s. His turn as Gruber in 1988, opposite Bruce Willis, made him a recognizable face throughout America and opened up more film opportunities for him, especially in villain roles. Over the next 28 years, Rickman would go on to appear in nearly 50 films, ranging from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (for which he won a BAFTA Award playing a deliciously evil Sheriff of Nottingham) to Love, Actually. Additionally, he won an Emmy and a Golden Globe in 1997 for his titular role in the TV miniseries Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny. In recent years, he was exposed to massive audiences as the petulant but ultimately noble Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series.

Rickman also worked as a director, notably co-writing and directing The Winter Guest, starring Emma Thompson. However, his chief public legacy will almost certainly be the decade he spent breathing life into one of the most prominent antiheroes in literary and film history: Snape.

David Bowie and now Alan Rickman, in the same week. Rest in peace, both of you.