Alan Rickman, actor known for Harry Potter and Die Hard, dies aged 69
Jan 14, London: British actor Alan Rickman, who brought an erudite dignity to film roles like Hans Gruber, the nefarious mastermind of “Die Hard,” and Severus Snape, the dour master of potions in the “Harry Potter” series, died on Thursday at the age of 69.
The star had been suffering from cancer, his family said in a statement.
He became one of Britain's best-loved acting stars thanks to roles including Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films and Hans Gruber in Die Hard.
Harry Potter author JK Rowling led the tributes, describing him as "a magnificent actor and a wonderful man".
She wrote on Twitter: "There are no words to express how shocked and devastated I am to hear of Alan Rickman's death."
She added: "My thoughts are with [Rickman's wife] Rima and the rest of Alan's family. We have all lost a great talent. They have lost part of their hearts."
Announcing his death on Thursday, a family statement said: "The actor and director Alan Rickman has died from cancer at the age of 69. He was surrounded by family and friends."
The London-born star began his career in theatre, including with the Royal Shakespeare Company, before winning roles in TV dramas like Smiley's People and The Barchester Chronicles in the 1980s.
His performance as the manipulative seducer the Vicomte de Valmont in Les Liaisons Dangereuses on Broadway in 1986 brought him the first of two Tony Award nominations.
It also brought him to the attention of Die Hard producer Joel Silver, who offered him his film debut as a result.
He went on to become best known for playing screen villains - including the Sheriff of Nottingham in 1991's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, for which he won a Bafta award, and Judge Turpin opposite Johnny Depp in 2007's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, media reports said.
But he showed his gentler side in films like 1990's Truly Madly Deeply, in which he played Juliet Stevenson's ghost lover and which also earned him a Bafta nomination.
Further Bafta nominations came for his roles as Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility and the calculating Irish politician Eamon de Valera in 1996's Michael Collins.
The following year, he won a Golden Globe for best actor in a miniseries or television film for the title role in Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny.
The Oslo Times