I found out about the passing of Alan Rickman the way I find out most of my news these days… on Facebook before I’d fully left my bed this morning. The world is still mourning the loss of another great man, David Bowie, and now we lose someone so iconic, so brilliant… my heart felt this one a lot.
Rickman had a brilliant career in acting beyond his role in Harry Potter. IMDB sums it up well:
Rickman first came to the attention of American audiences as “Vicomte de Valmont” in “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” on Broadway in 1987 (he was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance in the role). Denied the role in the film version of the show, Rickman instead made his first movie appearance opposite Bruce Willis in Die Hard (1988) as the villain, “Hans Gruber”. Rickman’s take on the urbane villain set the standard for screen villains for decades to come. Though often cited as being a master of playing villains, Rickman has actually played a wide variety of characters, such as the romantic cello-playing ghost “Jamie” in Anthony Minghella‘s Truly Madly Deeply (1990) and the noble “Colonel Brandon” of Sense and Sensibility (1995). He’s treated audiences to his comedic abilities with films like Dogma (1999), Galaxy Quest (1999) and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005), and roles like “Dr. Alfred Blalock” in Something the Lord Made (2004) and “Alex Hughes” in Snow Cake (2006), showcase his ability to play ordinary men in extraordinary situations. Rickman even conquered the daunting task of singing a part in aStephen Sondheim musical as he took on the part of “Judge Turpin” in the movie adaptation of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007).
In 2001, Rickman introduced himself to a whole new, and younger, generation of fans by taking on the role of “Severus Snape” in the movie versions of J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001). He has continued to play the role through the eighth and last movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011).
While I have loved him in many of these roles, his most legendary to me will always be Severus Snape. In all of Harry Potter, that character touched me the most deeply with his complex backstory and layers of light and dark. In the end, the light won, as it is wont to do, and he became forevermore a character that will live on as an unlikely hero. He had the most tragic narrative, always the villain but never really the villain at all. Living a double life to save the son of the woman he loved but who didn’t love him. No one else could have brought so much to the role of Snape but Alan Rickman. He will always be Snape to me, and to so many others.
The world has lost a great talent today, and his family has lost even more. Wherever you are, whatever new adventure you find yourself on now, know this Alan Rickman: Your mark on this world will never be forgotten. You will live on always. #RIP #Always