Alan Rickman – whose death at the age of 69 was announced this morning (January 14) – was truly one of Britain’s greatest actors.
Bringing gravitas to every role he took on, he also wasn’t scared of having a bit of fun with the characters he played, from the camply sinister terrorist in Die Hard to Harry Potter’s duplicitous Professor Snape. Here are his finest film performances.
Die Hard (1988)
Rickman’s German baddie, Hans Gruber, was his first ever feature film role, following a run of theatre appearances in the UK and on Broadway, as well a number of low-key tv appearances.
Truly Madly Deeply (1990)
Proof that he could play a bloody good romantic lead as well as he could do an utterly evil villain, the very British Truly, Madly, Deeply saw Rickman playing a lover with a twist – SPOILER ALERT – he was a ghost. His performance caught the further attention of Hollywood and cemented his star status.
Robin Hood Prince of Thieves (1991)
Returning to the bad guy theme, Rickman’s turn as the Prince of Nottingham was one of the best pantomime villain performances there ever was. Awarded the BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor, he outshone Kevin Costner’s Robin in every scene he appeared in.
Harry Potter (2001-2011)
Rickman’s recurring role as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films introduced him to kids across the globe. Appearing in all eight movies, Snape was the most compelling character in the series.
Love Actually (2003)
Not your typical baddie – just a man having a midlife crisis – Rickman’s role in epic ensemble rom-com Love Actually sees him married to – and attempting to cheat on – Emma Thompson. Why anyone would want to cheat on the wonderful Emma Thompson is anyone’s guess – but he plays the bumbling tosser to a tee.