Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman was born in London on February 21, 1946. He studied graphic design and acting and is most famously known for his role as Hans Gruber in the 1988 action film “Die Hard.” He also played Severus Snape in the “Harry Potter” film series. Rickman died in 2016 following a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman
February 21, 1946
January 14, 2016 (age 69)
Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman was born on February 21, 1946, in the Acton area of London. His father was a WW2 aircraft fitter named Bernard William Rickman. His mother was a Welsh woman named Margaret Doreen Rose, an English factory worker, house painter, decorator, and housewife. He also has Irish ancestry through his paternal grandmother. Rickman was born with a birth defect causing him to have a tight jaw. This resulted in a deep, languid tone of voice for which he would become famous.
When he was eight, his father passed away from cancer, leaving his mother and three siblings alone. Alan’s mother, Margaret Rickman, remarried in 1960 but divorced his stepfather three years later. As a child, Rickman excelled at watercolor painting, typography, and calligraphy. Rickman spent his childhood years at a few different schools including the West Acton First School, the Derwentwater Primary School in Acton, and Latymer Upper School in London through the Direct Grant System. Here he became involved with theater and drama.
For his higher education, Rickman attended the Chelsea College of Art and Design from the years 1965 to 1968, he then attended the Royal College of art from 1968 to 1970. He became an in-house graphic designer for the Royal College of Art’s magazine. After starting a graffiti business with a few of his friends, he decided to continue acting, getting his big break for the role of Hans Gruber in “Die Hard.” On January 14, 2016, Alan Rickman passed away following a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Rickman gets his big break when he is chosen to play the main antagonist in the action film “Die Hard” in the role of Hans Gruber.
The actor wins Best Actor in a Supporting Role at the BAFTA Film Awards for his portrayal of the Sheriff of Nottingham in the film “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.”
Rickman wins the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Special for his role in the 1996 biographical television film “Rasputin.”
Rickman plays Severus Snape, the potion master, and portrays this role throughout the “Harry Potter” series. (2001 to 2011)
Why We Love Alan Rickman
According to science, Alan Rickman has a perfect voice
In 2008 scientists did a research project on unpacking perfect male and female voices. There was a panel that concluded that Rickman's voice was one of the more popular voted voices and perfectly recognizable.
He married his childhood sweetheart
Alan Rickman met Rima Morton when he was only 19, and she was 18. He married her shortly after – we love to see a long-lasting love!
J.K. Rowling wrote Severus Snape as Alan Rickman
In an interview, it was revealed that J.K. Rowling wrote the character Severus Snape with the actor Alan Rickman in mind. This was after Tim Roth left the project and chose to star in “Planet of the Apes” instead, leaving Rickman with the role of Snape.
5 Surprising Facts
Rickman studied graphic design at the Chelsea College of Art and Design, continuing classes at the Royal College of Art.
Acting came later
Although studying drama at 18, Rickman followed other pursuits before becoming the famous movie star we all know.
He Almost didn't do “Die Hard”
As a young actor in Hollywood, Rickman didn't know much about the industry and admitted to nearly turning down the role of Hans Gruber in the film “Die Hard.”
The Greatest villain of all time
Rickman is the only actor that has received a nomination twice for the “Greatest Villains of all Time,” which were for his roles in “Die Hard” and “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.”
He auditioned for “Return of the Jedi”
Rickman expresses how he originally auditioned for the role of Moff Jerjerrod, the Admiral who oversaw the construction of the second Death Star.
Alan Rickman FAQs
How old was Alan Rickman when he played Severus Snape?
He was 69 years old when he played the famous Severus Snape in the “Harry Potter” trilogy.
Who was Alan Rickman married to?
Rickman was married to Rima Elizabeth Horton, a former English Labor Party councilor on the Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council.
What happened to Alan Rickman's jaw?
Rickman was born with a tight jaw which resulted in a deep tone of voice for which he would become famous.
Alan Rickman’s birthday dates