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As I’ve been sick the past few days, I woke up this morning and learned that one of my favorite actors passed away earlier today. He was best known for two major roles: one is one of the best villains in an action film of the 80’s and the other, a Hogswart teacher. Yes folks, I am talking about Alan Rickman, who has sadly lost his battle to cancer at the age of 69.

Alan Rickman was born on February 21, 1946 in Hammersmith, London, England as the middle child of a factory worker and his wife. After studying graphic design and actually starting up his own company, Rickman found his true passion: acting. Having been accepted to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art at the age of 26, and this would lead him to his first stage role in the United States doing Dangerous Liaisons in the role of the Vicomte de Valmont, played in the film version a year later by John Malkovich.

Rickman would make an impact with his first film role, the notorious terrorist mastermind Hans Gruber in Die Hard. His performance has been a fan favorite and still ranks to this day as one of the best villains to be portrayed on screen due to his slyness and it would be this role that would serve as a prototype for the more “mastermind” style villain as opposed to do who truly just blow away people for the hell of it.

Throughout the 1990’s, Rickman tried out his versatility and succeeded in comedies playing a TV alien inGalaxy Quest and the angel Metatron in Kevin Smith’s satirical take on religion, Dogma. He did try his hand on action again, playing one of the best Sheriff of Nottinghams on screen in Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

In 2001, Rickman would play the role that personified him with a new generation of movie viewers: Professor Severus Snape in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Rickman played Snape as the devious teacher who longs to be the Master of the Dark Arts and attempts to make our hero Harry’s life a venerable Hell. Rickman would reprise the role in all of the film’s follow-up, revealing Snape’s true colors in the finale, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

In between the Potter films, Rickman continued work, playing heart-surgery pioneer Dr. Alfred Blalock in Something the Lord Made, Judge Turpin in Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and lending his voice to the Blue Caterpillar in Burton’s take on Alice in Wonderland. As a matter of fact, Rickman’s voice is reprised in what will be his final film, Alice Through the Looking Glass, to be released this May.

Rickman is survived by his wife, Rima Horton, and siblings David, Michael, and Sheila.

World Film Geek sends its condolences to the family of Alan Rickman, one of the greatest actors ever to grace to screen.

Here is Rickman as the Angel Metatron in Dogma. Cheers Alan and may you Rest in Peace.