Name:
Alan Rickman
Birth Date:
February 21, 1946
Birth Place:
Hammersmith, London, England, UK
Height:
6' 1
Nationality:
British
Famous for:
His role as Hans Gruber in 'Die Hard' (1988)
Profession:
actor
Education:
Latymer Upper School, Hammersmith, London (graduated in 1964)
BIOGRAPHY
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Severus Snape

Background:

“If you spend any time in Los Angeles, there's only one topic of conversation.” Alan Rickman.

British-born actor Alan Rickman first caught moviegoers’ eye while playing Bruce Willis’ main villain Hans Gruber in the hit actioner Die Hard (1988) and later popular to younger audiences as the sinister Professor Severus Snape in Harry Potter movies (2001, 2002 and 2005). The actor who played Robin Hood’s nemesis in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) recently starred as a man who befriends an autistic woman (played by Sigourney Weaver) in Snow Cake (2006) and will soon be seen as the rich business man opposite Dustin Hoffman in Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006). He will play major roles in the upcoming films Nobel Son and The Villa Golitsyn, and is set to reprise his Professor Snape role in Harry Potter’s 2007 installment.

Rickman is also an accomplished stage actor. He was twice nominated for Broadway's Tony Award as Best Actor: in 1987 for "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" and in 2002 for a revival of Noel Coward's "Private Lives." The 6' 1" star was one of Empire Magazine's Greatest Living Movie Stars over the age of 50, 100 Sexiest Stars in Film History (1995) and Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time (October 1997).

"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." Alan Rickman (on longtime partner Rima Horton).

On a more personal note, the 60-year-old actor has never married. He has long been romantically involved with Rima Horton since the late of 1960s.


Alan Sidney

Childhood and Family:

Of Irish and Welsh parentage, Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman was born in London's Hammersmith district on February 21, 1946, to a working-class family. When he was eight, his father, who was a painter and decorator, died of cancer. He left behind Alan, his mother and his three siblings (an older brother, a younger brother and a younger sister).

After winning a scholarship to West London's Latymer Upper School, Rickman was encouraged by his teachers to try acting. He also developed an interest in art and went on to study graphic design at the Royal College of Art which made his way as a graphic artist in Soho. At age 26, he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) which he attended for 3 years (1972-1974).

"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." Alan Rickman (on longtime partner Rima Horton).

Alan has long been involved with Rima Horton, a politician, since the late of the 1960s. The pair shares a home in London and has no children.

"I love to travel and I don't have children, so there is a certain freedom." Alan Rickman (on not being a father).


Screen Villain

Career:

"You can act truthfully or you can lie. You can reveal things about yourself or you can hide. Therefore, the audience recognizes something about themselves or they don't. You hope they don't leave the theatre thinking 'that was nice…now where's the cab?’” Alan Rickman.

A former graphics designer at his own graphic design business, Alan Rickman quickly turned to acting when he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). During his study there, he served as a dresser to such actors as Ralph Richardson and Nigel Hawthorne. He also won the Emile Littler Prize, the Forbes Robertson Prize and the Bancroft Gold Medal.

After leaving RADA, Rickman began to make his name on the stage, first appearing in repertory and then landing lead roles in London productions. He gained particular acclaim in 1985 when he originated the role of Le Vicomte de Valmont in Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) West End production of "Les Liaisons Dangereuses," opposite Lindsay Duncan. He later reprised the role in the RSC's production on Broadway in 1987 and received a Tony nomination.

Following his stage success, got his first major film in Hollywood blockbuster starring Bruce Willis, Die Hard (1988), in which he was cast as the main antagonist Hans Gruber, a vicious German terrorist. In 2003, the American Film Institute declared his character Hans Gruber the 46th greatest villain in the past 100 years of film. After Die Hard, Rickman went on to make a couple of poorly received features. He played Kevin Kline's artsy pal in the awkward mix of comedy and a murder mystery written by Oscar-winner John Patrick Shanley, The January Man (1989), and as the title role’s (played by Tom Selleck) nemesis and the tyrannical landowner in the comedic western movie Quigley Down Under (1990).

Rickman had a romantic lead role as Juliet Stevenson’s deceased boyfriend who came back as a ghost in Anthony Minghella's love/ghost story Truly Madly Deeply (1990), but returned to evil the next year as a sadistic, ruthless interrogator in the independent film Closet Land. That same year, success greeted him again. He won a BAFTA award for Best Supporting Actor, thanks to the portrayal of Robin Hood (played by Kevin Costner) nemesis, the vile and loathsome Sheriff of Nottingham, in Kevin Reynolds' hugely budgeted Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. He then costarred as a husband whose wife (played by Saskia Reeves) has an incestuous relationship with her brother (played by Clive Owen), in the low-budget British drama Close My Eyes, and became the campaign manager of Bob Roberts (1992) in writer-director-actor Tim Robbins’ satirical faux-documentary with the same name.

The next years saw Rickman with such solid performances as a local theater star with a troubled past in Mike Newell's take on Beryl Bainbridge's novel, An Awfully Big Adventure, and as Colonel Brandon, Kate Winslet's dark, smoldering suitor, in the Emma Thompson-scripted, Ang Lee-directed Sense and Sensibility (both in 1995), an acclaimed adaptation of the 1811 novel by Jane Austen. In 1996, he won an Emmy and Screen Actors Guild awards for portraying the title role of the Russian mesmerist known as the mad monk in the HBO biopic Rasputin, and co-starred as the former Prseident of Ireland (3rd president), Eamon De Valera, in the most successful Irish-made film by director Neil Jordan, the biopic Michael Collins (starring Liam Neeson).

Rickman also tried his hand in directing, debuting with The Winter Guest, which he adapted from Sharman Macdonald's play and stars Emma Thompson and Phyllida Law. The film won a number of positive notices, which proved his versatility on both side of the camera. Back in front of the camera, Rickman teamed with Emma Thompson as a pair of detectives trailing bumbling kidnappers in Sebastian Gutierrez's crime thriller Judas Kiss (1998). He also starred in such sci-fi movies as Dean Parisot's "Star Trek"-skewering comedy Galaxy Quest (1999; opposite Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver) and Kevin Smith's Dogma (1999; with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon; Rickman played a grumpy angel). On stage, he co-starred with Helen Mirren in the London stage production of "Antony and Cleopatra."

In the new millennium, Rickman played a local hairdresser in director Paddy Breathnach’s amiable, bittersweet British comedy Blow Dry (2001), before landing a role in Chris Columbus' critically acclaimed fantasy movie based on the best-selling novel by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001), as the skulking, seemingly malevolent Professor Severus Snape. He later reprised his role in its sequels, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004). Meanwhile, he reteamed on stage with Lindsay Duncan for a revival of Noel Coward's "Private Lives" and his performance was nominated for Tony award as Best Actor. He also had a turn in the large ensemble of writer-director Richard Curtis' multi-story comedy Love Actually (2003) as a man contemplating being unfaithful to his wife (Emma Thompson), and as the heart surgery-pioneering physician Alfred Blalock in the above-average HBO film Something the Lord Made (2004; opposite Mos Def), which earned him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Miniseries or Movie.

In 2005, Rickman lent his voice to Marvin, the manic depressive robot in the film version of Douglas Adams’ popular book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and recently starred as a man who befriended with an autistic woman (played by Sigourney Weaver) in Marc Evans' drama Snow Cake (2006). He will soon star as rich business man Antoine Richis whose daughter (played by Rachel Hurd-Wood) is to be the next victim of the murderer in German director Tom Tykwer's drama based on the novel by Patrick Süskind, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (also starring Dustin Hoffman). His other upcoming roles include as a learned father who wins the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in Randall Miller's drama about a dysfunctional family, Nobel Son, and as Kristin Scott Thomas' husband in Peter Medak's adaptation of Piers Paul Read's novel, The Villa Golitsyn. He will also reprise his Professor Severus Snape role in the upcoming sequel Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

"I do take my work seriously and the way to do that is not to take yourself too seriously." Alan Rickman.

Awards:

  • Emmy: Best Actor in a Miniseries or a Special, Rasputin, 1996
  • Screen Actors Guild: Best Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries, Rasputin, 1996
  • BAFTA: Best Supporting Actor, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, 1992
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