Celebrated actor Alan Rickman has died at age 69 in London. Well known for a long list of memorable roles in films like Die Hard, Galaxy Quest, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and the Harry Potter franchise, Rickman had been suffering from cancer, according to a statement from his family.
An accomplished, award-winning actor on both the stage and screen, Rickman also directed a pair of features and lent his iconic voice to several animated characters over the years in a career spanning just over 35 years.
Rickman’s death was confirmed by his family Thursday morning, January 14, in a statement reading, “The actor and director Alan Rickman has died from cancer at the age of 69. He was surrounded by family and friends.”
Already an acclaimed stage performer before making the transition to the big screen, Rickman’s first featured movie role cast him as the villain Hans Gruber in 1988’s Die Hard — a role that is widely regarded as one of his most memorable characters to date. A late arrival on the Hollywood scene, Rickman was cast as Hans Gruber at age 42.
Over the course of his career, Rickman earned a long list of awards for both his stage and screen work, including both a Golden Globe Award and Primetime Emmy Award for his portrayal of Grigori Rasputin in the 1996 miniseries Rasputin. He was also nominated for four British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards over the years, winning one for his performance as the Sheriff of Nottingham in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
Along with appearing in front of the camera, Rickman also directed a pair of features. He made his directorial debut with the 1997 drama The Winter Guest, and then followed that with the 2014 period drama A Little Chaos. He served as a co-writer on the screenplays for both projects.
His most extensive role to date cast him as the wizard Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise, which he played across eight films in the blockbuster franchise that spanned nearly a decade.
While Rickman was primarily known for playing villains, he also earned acclaim for warmer roles in films such as Ang Lee’s 1995 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility and the popular 2003 romantic comedy Love Actually.
Rickman’s final two projects have yet to arrive in theaters, with the war thriller Eye in the Sky scheduled to premiere March 11 and the Alice in Wonderland sequel Alice through the Looking Glass (in which he provides the voice of the “Blue Caterpillar” character) premiering May 27.
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