Screencap of Alan Rickman from 'Alan Rickman reads Shakespeare's "Sonnet 130" ', January 14, 2016 - Katexic Clippings Newsletter/Flickr
CAIRO – 21 February 2018: February 21 marks the birthday of late British actor Alan Rickman, a renowned talent best known for portraying professor Severus Snape in the "Harry Potter" movies, but having a wide and accomplished career far beyond that.
Rickman was born in England in 1946, having shown a strong interest in the arts since a young age. After the death of his father at age eigth, he received a scholarship to Latymer Upper School.
He later studied graphic design at the Chelsea College of Art and Design, having originally wanted to be an artist rather than an actor. Indeed, Rickman actually found success pursuing this line of work; upon graduating from the Royal College of Art, he opened up a graphic design business called Graphiti.
The allure of theatre pushed Rickman's future in a different course however. He decided to apply to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art when he was 26, and by 1978, he had managed to enter the prestigious ranks of the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he performed in various adaptations of Shakespeare's work such as "The Tempest".
He didn't enjoy the experience however, considering the work to be churned out with little regard for the actors. Rickman, naturally gifted with a smooth, distinctive voice, later put it to good use as a voice actor for BBC radio during much of the 1980s.
Fame would start coming his way in 1985, when he performed as Vicomte de Valmont in the play "Les Liaisons Dangereuse", which writer Christopher Hampton had created specifically for him. When he performed the role once again for the Broadway rendition of the play, American audiences were wowed; Rickman earned his first Tony Award nomination for the role. The play even became a film called "Dangerous Liasons", but alas, Rickman was denied the role made for him. Instead, his cinematic debut came in "Die Hard".
Released in 1988, Rickman starred counter the film's hero John McClane (Bruce Willis) as the villainous Hans Gruber, a German terrorist who captures the Nakatomi Plaza during Christmas, with McClane's wife being one of the hostages. Having made it into Hollywood, Rickman would continue starring in various film roles, the best of which included tragic romance "Truly, Madly, Deeply" and "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves", where he portrayed the Sheriff of Nottingham.
During the 90s, Rickman earned a Golden Globe award for "Sense and Sensiblity" and a Primetime Emmy Award for the TV movie "Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny". He even directed his first movie, "The Winter Guest".
With the dawning of the 21st century, Rickman stepped into one of his most famous roles as Severus Snape, Harry Potter's cruel yet heroic teacher. He would remain across the franchise in all eight movies, beginning with 2001's "Sorcerer's Stone" and seeing it through all the way until the end in "The Deathly Hallows, Part 2" in 2011.
Rickman never stopped acting until the end, starring in quite a wide variety of roles; from portraying American President Ronald Reagan in Lee Daniels’ "The Butler" (2013) to voicing the talking Caterpillar in Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" (2010).
Alas, Rickman passed away of cancer on January 14, 2016, at the age of 69. He is remembered fondly both by the generations he has reached in his movies and the many fellow actors he has worked with, who knew him for the irreplaceably precious talent he was.