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British icon of stage and screen Alan Rickman has died. He was 69.
The actor’s reps confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that the actor passed away on Thursday.
“The actor and director Alan Rickman has died from cancer at the age of 69. He was surrounded by family and friends,” his family said in a statement.
Rickman, who rose to fame in Hollywood as the sharp-tongued baddie Hans Gruber in the first Die Hard film, was much admired on both sides of the Atlantic, later adding to his list of beloved onscreen antagonists when he played the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, for which he won a BAFTA, and finding a new generation of fans as Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series.
Other hugely memorable roles along the way would include playing Metatron — the voice of God — in Kevin Smith’s Dogma, a deceased lover in Anthony Minghella’s Truly Madly Deeply and Col Brandon in Sense and Sensibility alongside frequent collaborator Emma Thompson, whom he would later famously cheat on in Love, Actually.
Speaking at a special BAFTA event held in his honor last year, Rickman said that he was offered the iconic breakout role of Gruber — his first film — after being in L.A. for just two days, adding that he was “extremely cheap” at the time.
Last year would also see Rickman release the period drama A Little Chaos, starring Kate Winslet, his second stint as director after 1997’s The Winter Guest. His final film as an actor looks set to be Alice Through the Looking Glass, reprising his role as the voice of Absolem the caterpillar in the upcoming follow-up to Disney’s 2010 hit Alice in Wonderland.
Although Rickman never won an Oscar, he added to his BAFTA win for Robin Hood with a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award, both for his lead role in HBO’s 1996 TV film Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny.
Onstage, however, he was arguably more celebrated than onscreen, breaking through in 1986 in Les Liaisons Dangereuses. The role would earn him a Tony nomination and see his co-star Lindsay Duncan say that his performance would have most audience members leaving the theater wanting to have sex “and preferably with Alan Rickman.”
Other standout theater roles included playing Mark Antony alongside Helen Mirren’s Cleopatra in London, and in Noel Coward’s Private Lives, which would transfer to Broadway from the West End. He also directed the award-winning 2005 play My Name Is Rachel Corrie about the American student who was killed by an Israeli Defense Force bulldozer in the Gaza Strip.
Rickman is survived by his wife, Rima Horton, whom he met as a teenager and married in New York in 2012.
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