Alan Rickman passes

More stories from Chelsee Rigby

We knew him as the evil yet misunderstood potion master at Hogwarts, the Sheriff at Knottingham in Robin Hood, Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility, and so many more films wherein Alan Rickman represented the dynamic of a fine actor in the most graceful way possible.

On Jan. 14, Alan Rickman died from a short battle of cancer. He was 69 years old. Very few people knew that he had cancer, including his fellow Harry Potter cast members. According to CNN, Daniel Radcliffe, who played the infamous Harry Potter, referred to Rickman as, “one of the greatest actors I will ever work with.”

Following the dreadful news, J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, tweeted, “There are no words to express how shocked and devastated I am to hear of Rickman’s death. He was a magnificent actor & a wonderful man.”

Rickman was born on Feb. 21, 1946 in Acton, London. His family was working class. He was talented in calligraphy and watercolor painting, but when Junior School started he became involved in drama and theater. He later attended Chelsea College of Art and Design, and then the Royal College of Art.

His art education allowed him to work for the Notting Hill Herald as a graphic designer, which Rickman referred to as a more stable job than acting. He was quoted saying, “Drama school wasn’t considered the sensible thing to do at 18.”

When Rickman graduated college, he and a few friends opened up a successful graphic design studio called Graphiti. After three years, though, he decided to leave the studio and finally pursue his dream of acting professionally. He requested an audition with RADA, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art; an institute he attended from 1972-1974.

After graduating from RADA, Rickman worked with “experimental theater groups” in productions such as Snoo Wilson’s The Grass Widow, and Chekhov’s The Seagull. He played parts in many different plays including Romeo and Juliet.

His first big role was playing the male lead, Victome de Valmont, in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Les Liasions Dangereuses. The production made it to Broadway in 1987, and Rickman received both a Tony Award nomination and Drama Desk Award nomination.
This recognition sparked his popularity.

He was typically cast as a villain in the productions he was in, and his character Severus Snape was no exception. He won countless awards in his lifetime for his raw acting skills. Not only did he bless the world with the characters he played; he also blessed the world with his charitable spirit. He was an active patron of the research foundation “Saving Faces,” the president of the International Performers’ Aid Trust, which was a charity that works to fight poverty of performing artists internationally. Rickman, when referring to politics, quoted, “I was born a card-carrying member of the Labour Party.”

Following his death, fans created a memorial underneath the Platform 9¾ sign at London King’s Cross railway station. Alan Rickman truly lived a prodigious life, and will forever be remembered for the gracefully villainous characters he played, and the kind and genuine heart he had towards all those who had the pleasure of knowing him.