By Grabthar's Hammer: Iconic actor Alan Rickman passes away at 69

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Jan 14, 2016, 12:36 PM EST

We’ve lost another great one. Alan Rickman, the versatile actor best known for his iconic roles in Harry Potter and Die Hard, has died at the age of 69. The star was reportedly suffering from cancer.

For younger fans, Rickman is likely best known as Severus Snape, the potion master in the smash hit Harry Potter film franchise.


But his distinctive work extended far beyond the wizarding mega-franchise. Sci-fi fans will likely remember his turn as Alexander Dane in the cult-classic spoof Galaxy Quest.


For action fans of the 1980s, though, he’ll always be Hans Gruber, the terrorist mastermind who goes toe to toe with Bruce Willis’ John McClane in the first (and best) Die Hard film, possibly the greatest action movie ever made.


Outside of those roles, Rickman also showed up in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Kevin Smith's Dogma and a host of other film and TV projects.

On the awards front, Rickman won a BAFTA for his work as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood, a Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy for his role in Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny and a People’s Choice Award and MTV Movie Award for his place in the Harry Potter universe.

Rickman was one of the most versatile stars of our generation, and has the distinct honor of holding down more than a few iconic film roles — which is something most actors could only dream about. From the weird humor of Galaxy Quest to the badass villainy of Die Hard and the dark, nuanced development of Snape over the Harry Potter run, Rickman did it all, and did it all very, very well.

It feels insufficient to say "Rest in peace," so we'll just go with "By Grabthar's hammer, by the suns of Worvan, you shall be missed." And -- and this goes almost without saying, but -- f*** cancer. 

Shortly after his passing, his peers in Hollywood took to social media to express their condolences.

Among them was Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, who wrote:

Alan Rickman is undoubtedly one of the greatest actors I will ever work with. He is also, one of the loyalest and most supportive people I've ever met in the film industry. He was so encouraging of me both on set and in the years post-Potter. I'm pretty sure he came and saw everything I ever did on stage both in London and New York. He didn't have to do that. I know other people who've been friends with him for much much longer than I have and they all say "if you call Alan, it doesn't matter where in the world he is or how busy he is with what he's doing, he'll get back to you within a day".

People create perceptions of actors based on the parts they played so it might surprise some people to learn that contrary to some of the sterner(or downright scary) characters he played, Alan was extremely kind, generous, self-deprecating and funny. And certain things obviously became even funnier when delivered in his unmistakable double-bass.

As an actor he was one of the first of the adults on Potter to treat me like a peer rather than a child. Working with him at such a formative age was incredibly important and I will carry the lessons he taught me for the rest of my life and career. Film sets and theatre stages are all far poorer for the loss of this great actor and man.

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