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Alan Rickman Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Trade Mark (4) | Trivia (52) | Personal Quotes (11)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 21 February 1946Hammersmith, London, England, UK
Birth NameAlan Sidney Patrick Rickman
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Alan Rickman was born on a council estate in Acton, West London, to Margaret Doreen Rose (Bartlett) and Bernard Rickman, who worked at a factory. He has English, Irish, and Welsh ancestry. Alan has an older brother David, a younger brother Michael and a younger sister Sheila. When Alan was 8 years old, his father died. He attended Latymer Upper School on a scholarship. He studied Graphic Design at Chelsea College of Art and Design, where he met Rima Horton, who would later become his life partner. After three years at Chelsea College, Rickman did graduate studies at the Royal College of Art. He opened a successful graphics design business, Graphiti, with friends and ran it for several years before his love of theatre led him to seek an audition with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). At the relatively late age of 26, Rickman received a scholarship to RADA, which started a professional acting career that has lasted nearly 40 years, with no signs of stopping, a career which has spanned stage, screen and television and has lapped over into directing, as well.

Rickman first came to the attention of American audiences as "Vicomte de Valmont" in "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" on Broadway in 1987 (he was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance in the role). Denied the role in the film version of the show, Rickman instead made his first movie appearance opposite Bruce Willis in Die Hard (1988) as the villain, "Hans Gruber". Rickman's take on the urbane villain set the standard for screen villains for decades to come. Though often cited as being a master of playing villains, Rickman has actually played a wide variety of characters, such as the romantic cello-playing ghost "Jamie" in Anthony Minghella's Truly Madly Deeply (1990) and the noble "Colonel Brandon" of Sense and Sensibility (1995). He's treated audiences to his comedic abilities with films like Dogma (1999), Galaxy Quest (1999) and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005), and roles like "Dr. Alfred Blalock" in Something the Lord Made (2004) and "Alex Hughes" in Snow Cake (2006), showcase his ability to play ordinary men in extraordinary situations. Rickman even conquered the daunting task of singing a part in a Stephen Sondheim musical as he took on the part of "Judge Turpin" in the movie adaptation of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007).

In 2001, Rickman introduced himself to a whole new, and younger, generation of fans by taking on the role of "Severus Snape" in the movie versions of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001). He has continued to play the role through the eighth and last movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Rosie Walker (walkerr@champmail.com)

Trade Mark (4)

Rich smooth voice
Often plays depressive intellectuals in heroic roles
Often plays intimidating personalities
Slow yet calm delivery

Trivia (52)

Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#34) (1995).
Ranked #59 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]
Has been in a relationship with Rima Horton since 1965. The pair share a home in London. Rima Horton has retired from her lecturing position, and lost her seat on the council she worked for in the local elections of May 2006.
Although a highly successful film actor, he has frequently passed up film offers to return to the theater (A place and activity which he calls "magical" and his "first love".).
Nominated for Tony Award as Best Actor for Broadway revival of Noel Coward's "Private Lives" in May 2002.
Despite being author J.K. Rowling's first choice to play Snape in the Harry Potter films (she actually envisioned him when writing the character), he was only given the role in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) after Tim Roth (the studio's preferred choice) backed out to star in Planet of the Apes (2001).
He became well-known to the American public with his performance as Hans Gruber in Die Hard (1988).
Before becoming an actor, he studied graphic design at Chelsea College of Art and Design and at the Royal College of Art, forming a successful graphic design company, Graphiti, with several friends.
Named Best Stage Actor for his role in the acclaimed revival of Noel Coward's "Private Lives" at The Variety Club Show Business Awards 2002.
His father, Bernard Rickman, died when he was 8 years old.
Is the second of four children; has an older brother, a younger brother, and a younger sister.
While filming Die Hard (1988), was found proficient at mimicking American accents; a scene in which Hans Gruber and John McClane finally meet was then added to the script.
Made Vice-Chairman of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in 2003.
Was offered the role of Leonardo Leonardo in the 2000 cartoon based on Kevin Smith's film Clerks. (1994). Originally, the character was modeled after Hans Gruber, but the design was changed upon Rickman's request. The studio decided not to go with Rickman, and the role went to Alec Baldwin.
He was nominated for a 2002 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Actor of 2001 for his performance in "Private Lives" at the Albery Theatre, London.
He was nominated for a 2001 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actor for his performance in "Private Lives" at the Albery Theatre.
For the shot where Hans Gruber falls from the top of the building in Die Hard (1988), was actually dropped by a stuntman from a 20-foot high model onto an air bag. To get a genuine surprised look, the stuntman dropped him on the count of two instead of three.
In Die Hard (1988), he is seen firing a gun only twice (in the atrium when Gruber realizes Holly is John's wife and the "shoot the glass" scene), due to his uncontrollable habit of flinching when the gun recoiled. In that scene he blinks just before the camera cuts.
Was voted #19 in Empire Magazine's Greatest Living Movie Stars over the age of 50.
Was active in raising funds for the Labour Party.
Was twice nominated for Broadway's Tony Award as Best Actor (Play): in 1987 for "Les Liaisons Dangereuses", and in 2002 for a revival of Noel Coward's "Private Lives".
Two of the Harry Potter films (so far) also feature Warwick Davis as Professor Flitwick. In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005), Rickman and Warwick Davis play the same role. Warwick Davis wore the robotic suit for Marvin, while Rickman provides the voice.
His portrayal of Hans Gruber in Die Hard (1988) earned him a spot on the American Film Institute's list of the "100 Best Heroes/Villains" as the 46th best villain in film history.
Good friends with Adrienne Clarkson, Canada's former Governor General. Rickman visited Adrienne Clarkson's Ottawa, Ontario home in May 2005.
Says Canada is like a second home.
Failed his California driving test at one point for "driving too cautiously through a green light".
Was twice nominated for an Laurence Olivier Award as Best Actor (Play): in 1987 for "Les Liaisons Dangereuses", and in 2002 for a revival of Noel Coward's "Private Lives".
Good friends with Sharman Macdonald.
He is 11 years older than Timothy Spall, 12 years older than Adrian Rawlins and Gary Oldman, 17 years older than David Thewlis, and 21 years older than Geraldine Somerville. Nevertheless, the character that the six of them play in the Harry Potter films are meant to be contemporaries and former classmates.
Was J.K. Rowling's personal favorite to play Severus Snape.
Auditioned for Chris Barrie's character Rimmer in Red Dwarf (1988).
Godfather of Tom Burke.
Was Richard Curtis' choice to play Charles in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994). Curtis was very hesitant in casting Hugh Grant as he had so wanted Rickman.
Read the script of Snow Cake (2006) and suggested Sigourney Weaver for the role of Linda, having worked with her on Galaxy Quest (1999). He even telephoned Weaver, and told her she had to read the script, as there was a role he felt she could play perfectly in it.
Angela Pell stated at the Berlinale Press Conference, that she wrote the role of Snow Cake (2006)'s Alex Hughes with him in mind. The character's name in the script was "Alan", and it was Rickman who suggested the change to Alex.
The script of Galaxy Quest (1999) originally contained a mention of Alexander Dane having been knighted by Queen Elizabeth. He asked that this be changed because he believed it was inconsistent with the character, and all mentions of the knighting were removed. However, the character is still listed in the credits as "Sir Alexander Dane".
For Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), he turned down the role of the Sheriff twice before he was told he could more or less have carte-blanche with his interpretation of the character.
Had cello lessons for his part in Truly Madly Deeply (1990), and while he handles the right (bowing) hand, the left hand is provided by a real cellist standing behind him with his arm through Alan Rickman's armpit.
For his death plunge down the side of the skyscraper in Die Hard (1988), he actually dropped 20 feet onto an airbag against a green screen. Director John McTiernan had to jump first to convince Rickman to do it.
Chosen by Empire Magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#83) (2007).
Was best man at the wedding of Dexter Fletcher and Dalia Ibelhauptaite.
Shared a house with Ruby Wax in London in the early 1980s.
Featured twice in Times Online's "The 50 Best Movie Villains" chart: had the 41st position for his role as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) and the 10th as Hans Gruber in Die Hard (1988).
Not long after he started to play Severus Snape in the first Harry Potter movie (released in 2001), J.K. Rowling told Rickman some character secrets about Snape that would not be otherwise revealed until the last book. Most significantly, for over seven years, Rickman was one of the very few people other than Rowling to know that Snape had been in love with Lily Evans (later Potter) when they were students at Hogwarts, and both Snape's protection of and antagonism toward Harry came from that. Rowling said that she shared this information with Rickman because "he needed to understand, I think, and does completely understand and did completely understand where this bitterness towards this boy, who's living proof of [Lily's] preference for another man, came from." When the directors of the films would ask him why he was playing a scene a certain way, or delivering a line in a particular manner, Rickman would simply reply that he knew something they didn't.
Voted #8 on Empire Online's list of 50 Sexiest Movie Men. 52% of readers voted that he should have been higher on the list. [October 2009]
Attended the funeral of Natasha Richardson.
During his time at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, he worked as a dresser for actors.
Did not start acting until he was twenty-eight.
Has English, Irish and Welch ancestry.
Parents are Bernard Rickman and Margaret Doreen Rose.
Worked with director Alfonso Cuarón twice: first in Fallen Angels: Murder, Obliquely (1993) and second in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004).
Worked with director Mike Newell twice: first in An Awfully Big Adventure (1995) and second in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005).

Personal Quotes (11)

I do take my work seriously and the way to do that is not to take yourself too seriously.
On longtime partner Rima Horton: I think every relationship should be allowed to have its own rules. She's tolerant. She's incredibly tolerant. Unbelievably tolerant. Possibly a candidate for sainthood.
I have a love-hate relationship with white silk.
I do feel more myself in America. I can regress there, and they have roller-coaster parks.
On not being a father: I love to travel and I don't have children, so there is a certain freedom.
If you spend any time in Los Angeles, there's only one topic of conversation.
Los Angeles is not a town full of airheads. There's a great deal of wonderful energy there.
I love America because whenever I go home -- there's something about England and coming from England -- but as soon as you walk down the steps of the plane you shrink. And you have to start saying "sorry" and being polite and curtsying and things like that... America just lets me be the klutz I really am.
I approach every part I'm asked to do and decide to do from exactly the same angle: who is this person, what does he want, how does he attempt to get it, and what happens to him when he doesn't get it, or if he does?
It's a great pleasure to me to work on film now as well as on the stage. But it is no soft option. It isn't easier. It's in many ways more difficult, and it's a different kind of a challenge. You have to think a lot quicker and be a lot more immediate. And watching Bruce [Bruce Willis] and Kevin [Kevin Costner] and Tom Selleck deal with that has been an education.
I've learned a lot working with Bruce [Bruce Willis] and Kevin [Kevin Costner]. I mean, I'm the one that's there to learn, actually, in that situation.

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