Born on February 21, 1946 in Hammersmith, London, Alan Rickman attended the Royal College of Art and worked as a graphic artist in Soho. He received a scholarship to RADA where he won the Emile Litter Prize, the Forbes Robertson Prize, and the Bancroft Gold Medal.

Rickman has worked extensively in repertory and experimental theatre and has appeared three times at the Edinburgh International Festival.

He received huge critical acclaim for his casting as Le Vicomte de Valmont in The Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses. When the show crossed the Atlantic in 1986, Rickman repeated his role on Broadway and received a Tony nomination for his performance.

In his early days in Hollywood he tended to be cast as charismatic villains, such as Hans Gruber in the first Die Hard film and the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. In Anthony Minghella's Truly, Madly, Deeply however, he played a quirky romantic lead as a ghost returning to comfort his distraught lover, a role for which he received a BAFTA nomination as Best Actor, in the same year that he won the BAFTA as Best Supporting Actor for Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves.

In 1993, he did the voice-over on Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells II.

Editor's note: Alan Rickman died January 14, 2016, aged 69, from cancer.

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