The great British actor Alan Rickman died yesterday in the same week as singer and Labyrinth star David Bowie, and the Internet is full of tributes. Alan Rickman gave us some great performances and as genre performers go, few have traversed more of our favorite franchises than Rickman. In honor of Mr. Rickman let’s take a walk through our favorites in case you might have missed one.
Most of us first met Rickman as the villain Hans Gruber in 1988’s Die Hard, the first of action-packed films featuring Bruce Willis as John McClane. Rickman’s ability to portray the seething, classic, moustache-twirling villain won us over from the beginning, and would be a hallmark of the characters he would play over the course of a quarter of a century. At least one of my friends would recount Quigley Down Under as his next memorable film, but most remember well his Sheriff of Nottingham in the 1991 Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves starring Kevin Costner.
All in, Rickman was featured in three of my all-time top ten fantasy film favorites: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. It is the sequel to the latter, Alice Through the Looking Glass, where we will witness Rickman’s last performance on screen later this year, as the voice of the blue caterpillar. It will be difficult not to tie Rickman to his Severus Snape incarnation in all eight Harry Potter films for an entire generation–and many generations to come. He stepped into the shoes of Snape more than any of his film roles.
But Rickman won’t be remembered only for his major fantasy film roles, as two of his films struck chords for fans of sci-fi movies. His parody of a Spock-type alien Dr. Lazarus in the 1999 Star Trek parody Galaxy Quest was second to none. And his voicing of the droopy robot Marvin in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy opposite Martin Freeman and Zooey Deschanel added the gravity needed to make the 2005 movie another sci-fi classic.
And don’t forget that the classic master thespian was always around the next corner with dramatic roles in Sense and Sensibility (1995) and Michael Collins (1996) and even non-traditional romance comedies like Truly, Madly, Deeply (1999) and Love, Actually (2003). He even would venture outside the norm, playing God in Dogma (1999) and a judge in Sweeney Todd (2007).
Alan Rickman gave us countless hours of great entertainment and he will be missed by a legion of fans.