- Category: Entertainment
- Published Thursday, January 14, 2016
- CTV News
For a man who often played the villain, Alan Rickman was beloved by many fans for his often snarling, sarcastic work as a character actor.
The acclaimed British actor, who died Thursday of cancer at the age of 69, leaves a legacy of memorable performances that bewitched fans’ minds and ensnared their senses.
Rickman first rose to North American fame with his role as Hans Gruber, a European terrorist who crashes a holiday office party in "Die Hard." His accent isn't great in the movie (he's a Brit trying to be vaguely German), but that doesn't take away from his slimy, smug performance. At one point, he even shifts to an American accent, in order to conceal his identity from the film's hero, John McClane (Bruce Willis).
In this clip, Rickman's Gruber hums while riding in an elevator with a hostage, then stops to casually remark on the hostage's clothing. "Nice suit," he says, before flashing a vile, wide-mouthed grin.
For a younger generation, Rickman will always be known as Severus Snape from the "Harry Potter" franchise. Rickman's Snape routinely walked the line between heroism and villainy, aiding or antagonizing Harry at various turns. He also frequently managed to spit the word "Potter" with such disgust that it came out like a swear word.
Watch him drawl out his introductory speech in this clip from first "Harry Potter" film.
In the early years of his growing fame for portraying Snape, Rickman was also part of the star-studded cast of "Love Actually," as a married man led astray by one of his young, attractive employees.
In one of the most memorable scenes of the movie, Rickman's character, Harry, attempts to slip away from a shopping trip with his wife, in order to buy a gold pendant for his would-be mistress. However, he is nearly found out because of the overly-proper sales clerk (Rowan Atkinson), who insists on the most over-the-top giftwrapping job ever.
The clerk puts the pendant in a box, places the box in a bag, and then proceeds to fill the bag with all kinds of luxuries, including candy, herbs and a stick of cinnamon. Harry agonizes over every moment, but soon the frustration takes over, and he snaps: "What else could there be? Are you going to dip it in yogurt? Cover it in chocolate buttons?"
Rickman also showed the world he could sing in 2007, as the villainous Judge Turpin in Tim Burton's "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street." In this scene from the film, he and Sweeney Todd (Johnny Depp) sing together, with Rickman sitting in the barber's chair.
Tributes to his other roles
While Rickman is known to millions as Snape or Hans Gruber, many will remember him for some of his other, cult-favourite roles.
On Twitter, several people announced that their hearts had been "cut out with a spoon," in reference to a vitriolic line from Rickman's Sheriff of Nottingham, in the 1991 film "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves."
In the film, Rickman delivers the line in a frustrated tirade, after Robin of Locksley (Kevin Costner) escapes his clutches.
"Locksley! I'm gonna cut your heart out with a spoon!" he shouts.
"Why a spoon, cousin?" one of his allies asks, in a later scene. "Why not an axe?"
"Because it's dull, you twit. It'll hurt more," Rickman snaps back.
Others relished his performance as a jaded science-fiction actor in "Galaxy Quest," in which his character absolutely hates delivering his catchphrase: "By Grabthar's Hammer, you shall be avenged!" Rickman essentially plays a reluctant version of Leonard Nimoy, with a Spock-like role in a syndicated TV show.
On Facebook, director Kevin Smith posted a lengthy message of praise for Rickman, whom he directed in the film "Dogma."
"He was a huge cauldron of win, this man," Smith wrote in his post. "Thank you for lending a hack like me your artistry and your credibility, Alan."
Rickman plays the angel Metatron in the film, and in one scene, demonstrates himself to be without genitalia. "I'm as anatomically impaired as a Ken doll," he says.
Watch him in this foul-mouth exchange from the film.
Rickman also had a few memorable voice roles. In 2005, he provided the voice for Marvin, the extremely depressed robot, in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."
And in 2010, he voiced Absalem, the hookah-smoking blue caterpillar, in Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland."
Rickman also became a viral sensation in 2012, when he displayed his intense tea-making skills in the video, "Epic Tea Time with Alan Rickman." The video ends with Rickman upending the table and sitting back smugly.
Rickman's last film credit was to reprise his role as Absalem in "Alice Through the Looking Glass," according to IMDB. The "Alice in Wonderland" sequel is slated for release later this year.