Onscreen Prof Snape, British actor Alan Rickman dead

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London, Jan 14 (IANS) Renowned British actor Alan Rickman, best known for playing Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series and ruthless terrorist Hans Gruber in “Die Hard”, died here on Thursday, media reports said. He was 69.

Rickman’s family, which confirmed the death, said he had been suffering from cancer, reported the Guardian.

Born February 21, 1946 in a working class family, Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman became interested in drama while attending upper school and trained in art and graphic design before securing a place at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1972 where he honed his talent.

His first major role was as the impetuous Tybalt in a BBC TV adapation of “Romeo and Juliet” (1978) but came to viewers’ attention with his brief appearance in the BBC adaptation of John le Carre’s “Smiley’s People” (1982) with Alec Guinness and then as the odious, smarmy Reverend Obadiah Slope in the channel adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s ecclesiastical series “Barchesters Towers” (1982).

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What actually cemented his screen presence was his villainous part as the German terrorist in the high octane-action thriller “Die Hard” (1988) opposite Bruce Willis (a role he reprised in a flashback as “Die Hard with a Vengeance”, 1995), as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Kevin Costner-starrer “Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves” (1991), and then finally as the apparently malevolent Prof Snape, the potions master of Hogwarts, ceaselessly targeting the boy wizard and his friends in all seven films of the series from “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (2001) to “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part II” (2011).

A recipient of the BAFTA, Golden Globe, Emmy and Screen Actors Guild Awards, he is survived by his spouse Rima Horton with whom he had been living together since 1977 and married in 2012.

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