Alan Rickman Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (4)  | Trade Mark (2)  | Trivia (61)  | Personal Quotes (20)

Overview (4)

Born in Hammersmith, London, England, UK
Died in London, England, UK  (pancreatic cancer)
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), of English and Welsh descent, and Bernard Rickman, of Irish descent, who worked at a factory. Alan Rickman had 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 longtime partner.

After three years at Chelsea College, Rickman did graduate studies at the Royal College of Art. He opened a successful graphic design business, Graphiti, with friends and managed 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, a career which has spanned stage, screen and television, and overlapped into directing, as well. In 1987, he first came to the attention of American audiences as the Vicomte de Valmont in "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" on Broadway (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 film appearance opposite Bruce Willis in Die Hard (1988) as the villainous Hans Gruber. His take on the urbane villain set the standard for screen villains for decades to come.

Although often cited as being a master of playing villains, Rickman 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 treated audiences to his comedic abilities in such films as 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 as Alex Hughes in Snow Cake (2006), showcased his ability to play ordinary men in extraordinary situations. Rickman even conquered the daunting task of singing a role in a Stephen Sondheim musical as he took on the role 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, younger generation of fans by taking on the role of Severus Snape in the film versions of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001). He continued to play the role through the eighth and last movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011).

Alan Rickman died of pancreatic cancer on 14 January 2016. He was 69 years old.

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

Family (4)

Spouse Rima Horton (31 August 2012 - 14 January 2016)  (his death)
Children None
Parents Bartlett, Margaret Doreen Rose
Rickman, Bernard
Relatives Rickman, Sheila (sibling)
Rickman, Michael (sibling)
Rickman, David (sibling)

Trade Mark (2)

Deep baritone voice
Often played intimidating personalities

Trivia (61)

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]
Had been in a relationship with Rima Horton since 1965. The couple married in a private ceremony in New York City (2012). She retired from her lecturing position and later lost her council seat in the May 2006 local elections.
Although a highly successful film actor, he had frequently passed up film offers to return to the theater. The theater was a place and activity which he called "magical" and his "first love".
He was twice nominated for Broadway's Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play: for "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" (1987), and for a revival of Noël Coward's "Private Lives" (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 the action classic Die Hard (1988).
Before turning to acting, 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. He also worked for the Notting Hill Herald, a small London newspaper, which he considered a stable occupation compared to acting.
Named Best Stage Actor for his role in the acclaimed revival of Noël Coward's "Private Lives" at the Variety Club Show Business Awards (2002).
Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London, England. Became Vice-Chairman of the Academy and a member of its Artistic Advisory and Training committees and Development Board.
While filming Die Hard (1988), he was found proficient at mimicking American accents; a scene in which Hans Gruber and John McClane finally meet was then added to the screenplay.
He 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 the 2002 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award (2001 season) for Best Actor 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), he 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 three times (in the scene where Gruber shoots Joseph Takagi in the head; in the atrium when Gruber realizes Holly is John's wife and the "shoot the glass" scene), on account of 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 an active patron of the research foundation Saving Faces; and honorary chairman of the International Performers' Aid Trust, a charity that works to fight poverty amongst performers all over the world. Was also active in raising funds for the Labour Party.
The eight Harry Potter films 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 Clarkson's Ottawa, Ontario home in May 2005.
Good friends with Sharman Macdonald.
He was 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.
Auditioned for Chris Barrie's character Rimmer on Red Dwarf (1988).
Godfather of Tom Burke.
He 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 screenplay of Snow Cake (2006) and suggested Sigourney Weaver for the role of Linda Freeman, having worked with her on Galaxy Quest (1999). He even telephoned Weaver, and told her she had to read the screenplay, as there was a role he felt she could play perfectly in the role.
Angela Pell stated at the Berlinale Press Conference, that she wrote the role of Alex Hughes in Snow Cake (2006) with him in mind. The character's name in the screenplay was "Alan", and it was Rickman who suggested the change to Alex.
The screenplay 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 this 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 of Nottingham twice before he was told he could more or less have carte-blanche with his interpretation of the character.
Had cello lessons for his role 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 the jump.
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, England 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 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (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 did not.
During his time at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he worked as a dresser for actors. He was told by his acting coach at RADA that his voice sounded like this was coming out of the back end of a drainpipe.
Attended the funeral of Natasha Richardson at St. Peter's Episcopal Church near Millbrook, New York on April 22, 2009.
Voted #8 on Empire Online's list of 50 Sexiest Movie Men. 52% of the readers voted that he should have been higher on the list. [October 2009]
Had worked with director Alfonso Cuarón twice: first in Fallen Angels: Murder, Obliquely (1993) and second in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004).
Had worked with director Mike Newell twice: first in An Awfully Big Adventure (1995) and second in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005).
The first film he ever saw was Swiss Family Robinson (1960) and the film that changed his life was Robert Altman's Nashville (1975).
Two researchers, a linguist and a sound engineer, found "the perfect [male] voice" to be a combination of Rickman's and Jeremy Irons' voices based on a sample of 50 voices. Interesting enough, Rickman and Irons played villain brothers in the Die Hard franchise in the two films directed by John McTiernan: Rickman played Hans Gruber in Die Hard (1988) and Irons played his brother Simon in Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995).
He was the first choice to play Sidney in Crimetime (1996), but the film's budget was too low to afford him. The role went to Pete Postlethwaite.
He turned down the role of Alec Treveylan in GoldenEye (1995), because he was bored with playing villains. The role went to Sean Bean.
Kevin Smith cast him in Dogma (1999) after he stated in an interview that Smith's Chasing Amy (1997) was one of his favourite movies of the year. Rickman's presence onset caused Jason Mewes, who was going through a drug problem at the time, to be on his best behaviour. He memorised not only his lines, but the entire screenplay. In his own words, "I didn't want to piss off that Rickman dude".
He was considered to play Captain Hook in Peter Pan (2003), which went to Jason Isaacs. Rickman co-stared with Isaacs in the Harry Potter movies.
He turned down the role of Michael Jennings in On Deadly Ground (1994), which went to Michael Caine.
He appeared in the music video of the song "In Demand" by the rock band Texas (2000).
Auditioned for the role of Moff Jerjerrod in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), which went to Michael Pennington.
He was considered for the role of Bennett in Last Action Hero (1993), but he was deemed too expensive. The role went to Charles Dance. When he found out about this, he wore a T-shirt saying "I'm cheaper than Alan Rickman".
Although he played the Vicomte de Valmont on the West End and Broadway in the West End and Broadway productions of "Dangerous Liaisons", he was unable to reprise his role in Dangerous Liaisons (1988), as he chose Die Hard (1988) instead. John Malkovich replaced him.
Rickman died on January 14, 2016, one day before the second anniversary of the death of another well-known English actor, Roger Lloyd Pack, who, like Rickman, also died from pancreatic cancer less than a month before his 70th birthday. Pack appeared alongside Rickman in the Potter films as Minister for Magic Barty Crouch. Rickman passed away four days after the English music legend and actor David Bowie succumbed to liver cancer, also at the age of 69.
The sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016) was dedicated to his memory.
Born on the exact same date (and in the same country) as Anthony Daniels (of "Star Wars" fame).
His marriage to Rima Horton in 2012 was so secret that no one knew about it until he admitted it in 2015.
Was considered to play Arnold Rimmer in Space themed TV Sitcom Red Dwarf (1988) before the role eventually went to Chris Barrie. Barrie himself initially auditioned for the part of Dave Lister.
He disliked science fiction and almost always declined to participate in any films of the genre, but he agreed to ultimately appear in Galaxy Quest (1999) because he loved the script and thought it was very funny.
In 2010, a user on the site Tumblr.com wrote a false quote being said by Rickman, which circulated the internet. Later when he passed away in 2016, many Harry Potter fans used it as tribute, but internet source providers found the quote to be --never actually said by Rickman himself in any reported interview. (The quote was predicting himself to be 80 years-old in a rocking chair, reading a Harry Potter book, followed by what appeared to be dialogue from the last Harry Potter story, 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows').
Appeared in one film nominated for Best Picture Oscar: Sense and Sensibility (1995).

Personal Quotes (20)

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.
Actors are agents of change. A film, a piece of theater, a piece of music, or a book can make a difference. It can change the world.
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.
The job of directing it is absolutely terrifying. But you realise you've learned so much down the line... like Anthony [Anthony Minghella]'s vulnerability on the set of Truly Madly Deeply (1990). He gathered all the actors together on day one and said: "I have one word: help." Ralph [Ralph Fiennes] gave me another piece of advice, which was, "The danger of directing yourself is that you are embarrassed about going for another take." [2015]
Genre is a dangerous word. When I made An Awfully Big Adventure (1995), it was coming hot on the heels of Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994). Because Mike Newell directed it and Hugh Grant was in it, from some reason people thought - I can't think why - that they were going to see Four Weddings and a Funeral again, as if Mike Newell would be interesting in doing it twice. That's another film which has acquired its reputation over the years, but at the time people were disaffected by its darkness.
[on his role as Hans Gruber in Die Hard (1988)] As far as I'm concerned, I'm not playing the villain. I'm just playing somebody who wants certain things in life, has made certain choices, and goes after them.
[on his role as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)] I'm not playing a villain, I'm just playing somebody who has a certain checklist of things that he wants in life and he goes after them.
[on Bruce Willis] He's just the best, he's very good at looking after the atmosphere of the set. He's very funny - kind of what you expect. But he's also very skilled in front of the cameras; he knows exactly what he's doing.
Vincent Price also did comedy tremendously well, and is a tremendously versatile actor. And we all know where his gift for villainy landed him: typed for life. But I do appreciate the likening to him.
Not having had children has given me more space to work, I'm sure that's true, and when I work, I'm very driven, but otherwise I don't sit around missing acting.
I love not knowing what I'm going to be doing. I just enjoy any kind of mad scheme that comes up. I'll happily spend a day going round and round on roller coaster rides, the more dangerous the better.
I've never been able to plan my life. I just lurch from indecision to indecision.

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