British actor Alan Rickman was a star of the London stage, but became better known when he went to Hollywood and landed parts like that of Hans Gruber in Die Hard, the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Rasputin in Rasputin, and Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series. The Guardian has announced that Rickman has died of cancer in London.
Rickman was an actor unafraid of the unexpected. He voiced a monarch in an episode of cult carton King of the Hill and a megalomaniac pilot fish called Joe in the Danish animator Help! I’m A Fish. In 2000, Rickman appeared as Sharleen Spiteri’s love interest in the music video for Texas’s 2000 hit ‘In Demand’, which involves them tangoing at a petrol station. In 2015, Rickman again featured in the video for one of their singles, this time with vocals.
He spoofed his own persona in comedy Galaxy Quest (2000), in which he plays a Shakespearian-trained actor who has found fame as a Spock-style alien in a long-running sci-fi series and in Victoria Wood’s Christmas special of the same year, as an upright colonel at the Battle of Waterloo.
Rickman was sanguine about his legions of admirers, who declared their love on countless websites, video tributes and at stage doors. Even scientists were not immune: in 2008, linguistics professors concluded that the most appealing male voice mixes elements of Rickman, Jeremy Irons and Michael Gambon.