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RIP Alan Rickman – actor dies after battling cancer

Millions of his fans will be saddened to hear of the death of highly talented stage, screen and television actor Alan Rickman who died at the age of 69 after battling cancer. Few knew of his illness, because like David Bowie before him, he chose to keep it a secret.

Rickman was born into a working class family in Acton London and after attending RADA he went on to have a highly successful career, firstly in the theatre, before he performed on television in dramas like Smiley’s People and The Barchester Chronicles in the 1980s.

He was adept at many roles in his acting career, but perhaps he was at his best playing villains, these included 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. He also had a gentler side to his acting which he displayed in the film Truly Madly Deeply, in which he played Juliet Stevenson’s ghost lover. This earned him a BAFTA nomination which also came to him with his roles in Sense and Sensibility when he played Colonel Brandon, also for his portrayal of calculating Irish politician Eamon de Valera in the 1996’s Michael Collins.

His younger fans will best remember him for the role he played in the Harry potter series playing deceptive hero Severus Snape, where he portrayed magnificently the malicious, slithering and petty professor on the surface, but deep down driven by good.

Tributes are being paid to Rickman by both those contemporaries in the business as well as his fans, these include the person who persuaded him to take part in the Potter series, the author JK Rowling describing him as “a magnificent actor and a wonderful man”.

Another beautifully kept secret was his marriage to Rima Horton whom he wed in secret last year. The couple had been partners living together for an amazing 50 years, surely a record amongst the precarious profession that he chose and was such a master of.

Picture: Denis Makarenko /



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