Actor Spotlight: Alan Rickman

By: Logan Sowash

Severus Snape. Sheriff of Nottingham. Blue Caterpillar. Hans Gruber.

These are just a few names attached to the fantastic actor known as Alan Rickman. Born on February 26, 1946 in London, Rickman got his start in stage productions across England. From Chekov’s The Seagull and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Rickman built up a portfolio and credibility in his homeland. It wasn’t until he was 42 that he became popular in the United States with his portrayal of Hans Gruber in the 1988 action blockbuster known as Die Hard. From there, his filmography expanded with roles such as the Sheriff of Nottingham in 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Rasputin as the title character in an HBO television film. He ended up even winning an Emmy for his portrayal of Rasputin.

At the start of the 21st century, Rickman portrayed his most popular role to this day: Severus Snape in the first film of the Harry Potter franchise. The other seven films in the franchise kept his popularity consistent though he had time to do other projects such as Love Actually, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and many others. He even directed a few films in his career such as 1997’s The Winter Guest and 2014’s A Little Chaos. Despite spending a decade of his life with a multi-million dollar franchise, he still took time experimenting with different genres, directors, and roles.

Sadly, his career was cut short on January 14, 2016 when he lost his battle to cancer. His career had spanned decades and different formats, resulting in an actor that grew up with many generations. Whether you loved him as the frowning Hogwarts teacher or the antagonist to Bruce Willis’ John McClane, no one can deny that Rickman was an actor that brought talent to everything he was affiliated with. If you’re hankering for some more Rickman this year, do not fret: both of his last films, Eye in the Sky and Alice Through the Looking Glass, will be releasing sometime this March and May. 

Happy trails, Rickman. Thank you for everything. Rest in peace.