Credit: Shutterstock/Alan Rickman

On film, you put all your energies into a single glance

From Hans Gruber to the Sheriff of Nottingham and Severus Snape, no one was able to play the bad guy quite like Alan Rickman.

Born into a working class family in Hammersmith, London, Alan got his first taste of drama at Latymer Upper School which he was able to attend through the Direct Grant system. He went on to study design rather than drama because he thought that drama school “wasn’t considered the sensible thing to do at 18”. Three years after he graduated though he gave into his passion and went to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

He started his acting career on the stage and would continue to tread the boards throughout his life, but it was his first role in film that really pushed him to the forefront. As Hans Gruber in 1988’s Die Hard he proved just how well he could play the bad guy. His range as an actor was wide as his filmography shows, but it seems that in antagonistic roles he is most fondly remembered.

Using his endless supply of stage presence, charisma, and an unmistakable voice that “could suggest honey or a hidden stiletto blade”, he earned his place as a national treasure in a career spanning more than four decades.