Seriously, fuck cancer and fuck this week. Any other wonderful British men of 69 you care to take away from us? Unique ones too: there will certainly never be another David Bowie, and I don’t think there’ll be another Alan Rickman either. So many hats he wore, many of them villainous, but that was certainly not all he was capable of.
He started his career on stage, in Shakespeare. Perhaps it was a harbringer of things to come that his first role on screen, in 1978, was Tybalt. But his first major role on television was that of the vile Obadiah Slope in the TV adaptation of the first two books of 19th century author Anthony Trollope’s Barchester Chronicles, he showed what he was capable of:
His talent for making men delightful in their evil was first more widely noticed in 1988, when he put it to use in the action blockbuster Die Hard
Perhaps the pinnacle of that was when he stole Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves as the sheriff:
But thankfully other kinds of roles also came to him, such as the chance to bring Jane Austen’s Colonel Brandon to life in the 1995 Sense and Sensibility, and never had the older man looked or sounded better:
Indeed, with that voice, by 1999, he had been recognized as the appropriate man to portray a sarcastic and not very nice Voice of God when doing a religiously irreverent movie such as Dogma:
That was also the year he found himself playing an respected Shakespearean actor known for that geek role he took in Galaxy Quest
That was about to become very relevant to his own life, when two years later, Harry Potter fans around the world were introduced to him as Severus Snape, perhaps the thing he’s now most famous for doing:
Unlike his unfortunate Galaxy Quest character, however, he was still doing other roles, including a difficult one where he brought the heartbreak to the romcom Love, Actually:
And even when he wasn’t on screen, that memorable voice was, even when it was being used to voice a robot:
We will hear that voice one more time, at least, voicing a caterpillar in Alice Through the Looking Glass this year. But he should have stayed around for so much longer. And now that I’ve spent the day reading about what a good man he was, so unlike the men he played onscreen, that his has just gotten more painful.
RIP, Alan Rickman. By Grabthar’s Hammer, by the suns of Woven, you shall be remembered.