Alan Rickman

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Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman (born 21 February 1946) is an English actor and theatre director. He is a renowned stage actor in modern and classical productions and a former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Rickman is known for his film performances as Hans Gruber in Die Hard, Severus Snape in the Harry Potter film series, Eamon de Valera in Michael Collins, and Metatron in Dogma.

He is also known for his prominent roles as the Sheriff of Nottingham in the 1991 film, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and as Colonel Brandon in Ang Lee's 1995 film Sense and Sensibility. More recently he played Judge Turpin in Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and voiced the Caterpillar in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland.


[edit] Early life

Rickman was born in Hammersmith, London, to a working class family, the son of Margaret Doreen Rose (née Bartlett), a housewife, and Bernard Rickman, a factory worker.[1] Rickman's mother was from Wales and a Methodist, and his father was of Irish Catholic background.[2][3] He has one elder brother, David (b. 1944), a graphic designer, a younger brother, Michael (b. 1947), a tennis coach, and a younger sister, Sheila (b. 1949).[2][4] Rickman attended Derwentwater Primary School, in Acton, a school that followed the Montessori method of education.[5]

When he was eight, his father died, leaving his mother to bring up four children mostly alone. She married again, but divorced his stepfather after three years. "There was one love in her life," Rickman later said.[2] Rickman excelled at calligraphy and watercolour painting, and from Derwentwater Junior School he won a scholarship to Latymer Upper School in London, where he started getting involved in drama. After leaving Latymer, Rickman attended Chelsea College of Art and Design and then The Royal College of Art. This education allowed him to work as a graphic designer for the radical newspaper the Notting Hill Herald,[6] which he considered a more stable occupation than acting. "Drama school wasn't considered the sensible thing to do at 18," he said.

After graduation, Alan and several friends opened a graphic design studio called Graphiti, but after three years of successful business, Alan decided that if he were to ever explore acting professionally, it was now or never. This led him to write a letter to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) requesting an audition[7] and was awarded a place in RADA which he attended from 1972–74. While there, he studied Shakespeare's works and supported himself by working as a dresser for Sir Nigel Hawthorne and Sir Ralph Richardson,[8] and left after winning several prizes such as the Emile Littler Prize, the Forbes Robertson Prize, and the Bancroft Gold Medal.

[edit] Career

After graduating from RADA, Rickman worked extensively with various British repertory and experimental theatre groups on productions including The Seagull and Snoo Wilson's The Grass Widow at the Royal Court Theatre, and has appeared three times at the Edinburgh International Festival. In 1978, he played with the Court Drama Group, performing in several plays, most notably Romeo And Juliet and A View from the Bridge. While working with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) he starred in, among other things, As You Like It.

In 1982, British television audiences came to know Alan Rickman as the Reverend Obadiah Slope in the BBC's adaptation of Barchester Towers known as The Barchester Chronicles. In 1985, Rickman was given the male lead, Le Vicomte de Valmont, in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, directed by Christopher Hampton, which was a sellout.[9] When the show went to Broadway in 1987, Rickman earned both a Tony Award nomination [10] and a Drama Desk Award nomination for his performance.[11]

While Rickman's career has been filled with a wide variety of roles, for example, Éamon de Valera, (future Irish Taoiseach and president, in the film Michael Collins), he has also played romantic leads, for example Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility, and Jamie in Truly, Madly, Deeply. Yet, he has not been able to escape the over-the-top villains he has played in the Hollywood big budget films — German terrorist Hans Gruber in Die Hard (1988), the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), and most recently Severus Snape, the seemingly sinister potions master in the Harry Potter saga (2001–2011). In 1995, Rickman had turned down the role of Alec Trevelyan in the James Bond film GoldenEye. He has taken issue with being typecast as a "villain actor", citing the fact that he has not portrayed a stock villain character since the Sheriff of Nottingham in 1991. He has further said that he has continued to portray characters of complex and varying emotions, and does not think it is fair to assign characters a label of good or evil, hero or villain.

Nevertheless, his role in Die Hard earned him a spot on the AFI's 100 years...100 Heroes & Villains as the 46th best villain in film history. His performance as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves also made him known as one of the best actors to portray a villain in films.[12][13][14] In 2007, Entertainment Weekly named him one of their favourite people in pop culture, saying that in the Harry Potter films, "he may not be on screen long – but he owns every minute," and that he is capable of "turning a simple retort into a mini-symphony of contempt.".[15]

During his long career Rickman has also played a number of comedic roles, sending up classically trained British actors who take on "lesser roles" as the character Sir Alexander Dane / Dr. Lazarus in the Science Fiction spoof Galaxy Quest, portraying the angel Metatron, the voice of God, in Dogma, appearing as Emma Thompson's foolish husband Harry in Love Actually, providing the voice of Marvin the Paranoid Android in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy film, and the egotistical, narcissistic, Nobel prize-winning father in Nobel Son. Perhaps one of his best[citation needed] comedic roles is as the title role in the independent film The Search for John Gissing.

Rickman has also received acclaim for two biographical pieces he did for HBO. He won a Golden Globe and an Emmy for his performance as Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny in 1996, and was also nominated for an Emmy for his work as Dr. Alfred Blalock in 2004's Something the Lord Made. He also starred in the independent film Snow Cake (with Sigourney Weaver and Carrie-Anne Moss) which had its debut at the Berlinale, and also Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (with Dustin Hoffman), directed by Tom Tykwer.

In 2007, Rickman appeared in the critically acclaimed Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street directed by Tim Burton, alongside Harry Potter co-stars Helena Bonham Carter and Timothy Spall; he played antagonist Judge Turpin. According to Miami Herald, Rickman's performance "makes the judge's villainy something to simultaneously savor and despise", with his "oozing moral rot and arrogance".[16] Rickman also appeared as Absolem the Caterpillar in the 2010 Tim Burton film Alice in Wonderland. Rickman has performed on stage in Noël Coward's romantic comedy Private Lives, which transferred to Broadway after its successful run in London at the Albery Theatre and ended in September 2002. Rickman had reunited with his Les Liaisons Dangereuses co-star Lindsay Duncan, and director Howard Davies for this Tony Award-winning production.

His previous stage performance was as Mark Antony, opposite Helen Mirren as Cleopatra, in the Royal National Theatre's production of Antony and Cleopatra at the Olivier Theatre in London, which ran from 20 October to 3 December 1998. Before that, he performed in Yukio Ninagawa's Tango at the End of Winter in London's West End and the Riverside Studio production of Hamlet in 1991, directed by Robert Sturua.

Rickman had also directed The Winter Guest at London's Almeida Theatre in 1995 and the film version of the same play in 1996 starring Emma Thompson and her real life mother Phyllida Law. He also compiled (with Katharine Viner) and directed the play My Name Is Rachel Corrie in April 2005 at the Royal Court Theatre, London, and won the Theatre Goers' Choice Awards for best director. In May 2010, he finished directing Strindberg's play Creditors at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Harvey Theatre after its previous run at London's Donmar Warehouse in 2008.

In October and November 2010, Rickman starred in the eponymous role in Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkman at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin alongside Lindsay Duncan and Fiona Shaw.[17] The Irish Independent called Rickman's performance breathtaking.[18] This production subsequently travelled to the Brooklyn Academy of Music for performances in January and February 2011.[19]

In 2009 Rickman was given the James Joyce Award by University College Dublin’s Literary and Historical Society.[20]

[edit] In the media

Rickman was chosen by Empire as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (No 34) in 1995 and ranked No 59 in Empire's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list in October 1997. In 2009 and 2010 Rickman ranked once again as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars by Empire, both times Rickman was placed 8th out of the 50 actors chosen. Rickman became Vice-Chairman of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in 2003. He was voted No 19 in Empire magazine's Greatest Living Movie Stars over the age of 50 and was twice nominated for Broadway's Tony Award as Best Actor (Play): in 1987 for Les Liaisons Dangereuses, and in 2002 for a revival of Noel Coward's Private Lives. The Guardian named Rickman as an "honorable mention" in a list of the best actors never to have received an Academy Award nomination.[21]

Two researchers, a linguist and a sound engineer, found "the perfect [male] voice" to be a combination of Rickman's and Jeremy Irons's voices based on a sample of 50 voices.[22] Coincidentally, the two actors played brothers in the Die Hard series of films.

Rickman has also been featured in several musical works — most notably in a song composed by the English songwriter Adam Leonard entitled Not Alan Rickman.[23] Moreover, the actor played a "Master of Ceremonies" part in announcing the various instruments in Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells II on the track The Bell.[24] Rickman was one of the many artists who recited Shakespearian sonnets on the 2002-released When Love Speaks CD,[25] and is also featured prominently in a music video by the band Texas entitled In Demand,[26] which premiered on Europe MTV in August 2000. In the video, lead singer Sharleen Spiteri danced the tango with Rickman: the clip was nominated for Best British Video at the Brit Awards.

[edit] Personal life

In 1965, Rickman met his partner Rima Horton, an economics professor and London Labour party politician.[27][28][29]

[edit] Filmography and awards

Year Title Role Notes
1978 Romeo and Juliet Tybalt BBC Television Shakespeare
1980 Thérèse Raquin Vidal BBC Miniseries
1980 Shelley Clive Episode #1.7
1982 Busted Simon BBC TV Movie
1982 Smiley's People Mr. Brownlow Episode #1.2
1982 Barchester Chronicles, TheThe Barchester Chronicles The Rev. Obadiah Slope BBC Miniseries
1985 Return of the Native Narrator Won British Audiobook Publishing Association's "Talkie Award" for Best Unabridged Classic Recording
1985 Summer Season Croop BBC TV Series
1985 Girls On Top Dimitri / Voice of RADA CIT TV Series
1988 Die Hard Hans Gruber
1989 Revolutionary Witness Jacques Roux BBC TV Short
1989 January Man, TheThe January Man Ed, the painter
1989 Screenplay Israel Yates BBC TV Series
1990 Quigley Down Under Elliot Marston
1991 Truly, Madly, Deeply Jamie Nominated BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
1991 Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves Sheriff of Nottingham Won BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
1991 Close My Eyes Sinclair Bryant
1991 Closet Land The Interrogator
1992 Bob Roberts Lukas Hart III
1993 Fallen Angels Dwight Billings Propaganda Films TV Series
1994 Mesmer Franz Anton Mesmer Won Award for Best actor on the World Film Festival, Montreal
1995 Awfully Big Adventure, AnAn Awfully Big Adventure P.L. O'Hara
1995 Sense and Sensibility Colonel Brandon Nominated BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
1996 Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny Grigori Rasputin Won Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor - Miniseries or a Movie
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Miniseries or Television Film
Screen Actors' Guild Award for Outstanding Male Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
1996 Michael Collins Éamon de Valera Nominated BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
1996 Castle Ghosts of Ireland Living Tyde Documentary
1997 Winter Guest, TheThe Winter Guest Man in street (uncredited) Director, co-writer
Won Audience Award
Won Gold Hugo Award for Best Film
Nominated Chlotrudis Award for Best Director
Nominated Czech Lion Award for Best Foreign Language Film
Won 'CinemAwenire' Award
Won OCIC Award
Nominated Golden Lion Award[30]
1998 Judas Kiss Detective David Friedman
1998 Dark Harbor David Weinberg
1999 Dogma The Metatron
1999 Galaxy Quest Alexander Dane/Dr. Lazarus
2000 Help! I'm a Fish Joe Voice
2001 Play Man
2001 Blow Dry Phil Allen
2001 Search for John Gissing, TheThe Search for John Gissing John Gissing
2001 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Severus Snape Known as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States
2002 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Severus Snape Nominated PFCS Award for Best Acting Ensemble[31]
2002 King of the Hill King Philip Voice
2003 Love Actually Harry Nominated PFCS Award for Best Acting Ensemble[31]
2004 Something the Lord Made Dr. Alfred Blalock Nominated Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor - Miniseries or a Movie
2004 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Severus Snape
2005 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Severus Snape
2005 Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, TheThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Marvin the Paranoid Android Voice
2006 Perfume: The Story of a Murderer Antoine Richis
2006 Snow Cake Alex Hughes
2007 Nobel Son Eli Michaelson
2007 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Severus Snape
2007 Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Judge Turpin Nominated Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor[32]
2008 Bottle Shock Steven Spurrier Won The Golden Space Needle Award for Best Actor[33]
2009 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Severus Snape Template:Won Spike TV Scream Award for Best Ensemble[34]
2010 Alice in Wonderland Absolem the Caterpillar Voice
2010 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 Severus Snape
2010 Wildest Dream, TheThe Wildest Dream Noel Odell
2010 Song of Lunch, TheThe Song of Lunch He BBC Drama Production[35]
2011 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 Severus Snape
2012 Gambit Lord Shahbandar Filming

[edit] References

  1. Solway, Diane (August, 1991). "Profile: Alan Rickman". European Travel and Life. Retrieved 3 October 2007. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Mackenzie, Suzie (3 January 1998). "ANGEL WITH HORNS". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 October 2007. 
  3. "Search Results". 
  4. Alan Rickman Family Info Retrieved 4 September 2010.
  5. Maureen Paton (1996). Alan Rickman – The Unauthorised Biography. Virgin Books. ISBN 0-7535-0754-4. 
  6. Alan Rickman Biography. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
  7. Interview: Evil Elegance
  8. Interview Alan Rickman Retrieved on 20 December 2007.
  9. Vanity Fair – Living Dangerously (May 1987)[dead link] Retrieved on 7 January 2008.
  10. – Les Liaisons Dangereuses Tony Award Info Retrieved on 7 January 2008.
  11. retrieved July 4, 2010
  12. BBC[dead link] News|Film|Hannibal Voted Best Villian
  13. The Screening Room's Top 10 British Villains from CNN
  14. Pop Culture News TOUGH ACTOR TO FOLLOW from Entertainment Weekly
  15. Entertainment Weekly's 100 Favorite People in Pop Culture
  16. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (R) ***½ | Sinister musical's razor sharp – 21 December 2007 –[dead link]
  19. Alan Rickman wins James Joyce Award. Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  20. Singer, Leigh (19 February 2009). "Oscars: the best actors never to have been nominated". The Guardian (London). 
  21. – Alan Rickman Retrieved 2 February 2010.
  22. McGlone, Jackie (30 July 2006). "A man for all seasons". Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  23. Sheridan, Patricia (15 December 2008). "Rickman never mixes acting with personal life". Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  24. The Winter Guest – Awards Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  25. 31.0 31.1 Alan Rickman – Awards, Retrieved on 16 March 2010.
  26. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) – Awards Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  27. Bottle Shock (2008) – Awards Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  28. Half-Blood Prince Wins Two Spike TV Scream Awards. Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  29. The Song Of Lunch – Alan Rickman

[edit] External links