It has been a truly sad week, for we have lost another legendary British celebrity, and in a sad coincidence, much like David Bowie, they were taken from us by cancer at the age of 69. It is with great sorrow that I pay tribute to Alan Rickman today. Where does one even begin with the career of Alan Rickman? Prolific on stage and screen, this man brought to life some of the most iconic characters in all of popular culture. But I would argue that his first film role is still his most iconic: that of the villainous Hans Gruber in Die Hard.
Rickman’s rich voice and cynical demeanour made him the perfect actor to play antagonists, whether he was playing Harry Potter’s professorial rival Severus Snape, or the over-the-top Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, he always brought class and camp to his roles in equal measure.
But Rickman wasn’t always the bad guy, and in fact some of his best parts were on the side of good. He provided the perfect depressed voice to Marvin the paranoid android in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the booming voice of God in Dogma, and my personal favourite: the miserable former stage actor Alexander Dane (a.k.a. Dr. Lazarus) in Galaxy Quest. Somehow, Rickman managed to take a role that could have been utterly ridiculous and used it to move us to tears.
The world is a sadder place now that Alan Rickman is gone, but thankfully he gave us over 30 years of movies and television with which to remember him. I end now with one of my favourite quotes from the man: “I take my work seriously and the way to do that is not to take yourself too seriously.” Wise words. Farewell, Mr. Rickman. You will be greatly missed.