A star of stage and screen, Alan Rickman, has passed away at 69 years old after a battle with cancer.
I remember watching Die Hard for the first time back in the late 1980s and thinking, “Wow, that Hans Gruber is about as slimy as they come.” Little did I know that Alan Rickman would go on to become one of the best villain actors of all time. I loved the sneakiness that he infused into all of his characters and the quiet strength behind his grim facade. While he played them well, he was not always a villain, and he played every role he was cast in to perfection.
From that first major role that launched him into the global spotlight, Rickman went on to play some major villains as well as some memorable fan-favorites. In Quigley Down Under, he starred opposite of Tom Selleck as a villainous Australian rancher. He was the evil Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves hounding Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood. He became the vile Gregori Rasputin in the HBO movie Rasputin in 1996. For the younger generation, Alan Rickman became a well known, and most reviled face, as he portrayed the greasy Severus Snape in the Harry Potter film series.
Two of the best characters that Alan Rickman portrayed were not villains at all. He lent his voice to Marvin the emotionally dysfunctional robot in the latest film adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy bringing just the right mix of sarcasm and depression to this key player in an awesome story. And being a great stage performer was a critical component in portraying one of his best and funniest roles, that of Alexander Danes in the cult classic sci-fi comedy Galaxy Quest along with Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, and Sam Rockwell in his breakout role.
His acting was always spot on, his lines clear and crisp, and his accent made it even more enjoyable to hear lines like “By Grabthar’s Hammer, by the Sons of Worvan, he shall be avenged.”
There have been many losses so far this year, including actors and musicians, but, for me, the greatest loss is that of Alan Rickman. He has left a legacy of film and stage and he will be sadly missed.