English actor Alan Rickman dies at 69

  • Actor Alan Rickman dies of cancer on January 14 in London
  • He was best known for his role as Hans Gruber in Die Hard and Severus Snape inHarry Potter franchise
  • Rickman was 69 years old

Rickman's other most notable role is that of Hans Gruber in 1988's Die Hard

Rickman, the English actor-director who played Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise, has died on January 14 in London following a bout with cancer. He was 69.

Rickman’s vehicle to Hollywood fame was via the Bruce Willis-starrer action flick Die Hard back in 1988 where he played the role of the notorious criminal Hans Gruber as villain to Willis’ John McClane.

He landed the role just two days after arriving in Los Angeles at age 41.

But perhaps his most notable role is that ofSeverus Snape in the Harry Potter series; a role he went on to reprise six times in the succeeding films in the hugely-popular franchise.  His other memorable films include Truly, Madly Deeply (1991); Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991); Sense and Sensibility (1994); and Michael Collins (1995), among others.

Although Rickman never won an Oscar, he did receive a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe Award, an Emmy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award; the last three for his portrayal of Rasputin in Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny.

Rickman was born in Acton, west London on February 21, 1946.  He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) from 1972 to 1974,  studying Shakespeare’s works and supported himself by working as Nigel Hawthorne’s and Sir Ralph Richardson’s dresser.

The The Winter Guest director was included in the Empires list of  the “100 Sexiest Stars” in film history three times in 1995 (34th), 2009 (8th) and 2010 (8th); while he was ranked  59th in Empire’s “The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time” list in October 1997.

A statement from his family confirmed his death on Thursday. It read: “The actor and director Alan Rickman has died from cancer at the age of 69. He was surrounded by family and friends.”

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