Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman (21 February 1946 – 14 January 2016) was an English actor and director. Rickman trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), performing in modern and classical theatre productions. His first big television role came in 1982, but his big break was as the Vicomte de Valmont in the RSC stage production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses in 1985, and after the production transferred to Broadway in 1987 he was nominated for a Tony Award.
Rickman's first cinematic role was as the German terrorist leader Hans Gruber in Die Hard (1988). He also appeared as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), for which he received the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role; Elliott Marston in Quigley Down Under (1990); Jamie in Truly, Madly, Deeply (1990); P.L. O'Hara in An Awfully Big Adventure (1995); Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility (1995); Alexander Dane in Galaxy Quest (1999); Harry in Love Actually (2003); Marvin the Paranoid Android in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005); and Judge Turpin in the film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's musical of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007). Rickman gained further notice for his film performances as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series.
Rickman made his television acting debut playing Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet (1978) as part of the BBC’s Shakespeare series. He later starred in television films, playing the title character in Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny (1996), which won him a Golden Globe Award, an Emmy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award, and Dr. Alfred Blalock in the Emmy-winning Something the Lord Made (2004). Rickman died of pancreatic cancer on 14 January 2016 at age 69. His final film roles were as Lieutenant General Frank Benson in the thriller Eye in the Sky (2015), and the voice of Absolem, the caterpillar in Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016).