Once again this week we find ourselves coming to grips with the sudden loss of an entertainer that was universally loved and admired. For generations of children, including those kids that are now adults with kids of their own, and their grandchildren still to come, Alan Rickman will forever be known as Professor Severus Snape. For eight films he personified the complicated and often difficult world of Harry Potter, bringing one of its most complex and tortured characters to life. Today, on the day of his passing, those that helped make that magical world feel real have shared their memories and love for the wonderful man behind Snape’s scowl.
Author J.K. Rowling took to Twitter to remember both the actor and man.
“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.”
“I’m very sad to hear about Alan today. I feel so lucky to have worked and spent time with such a special man and actor. I’ll really miss our conversations. RIP Alan. We love you.”
Kind words of love and respect also came from Jason Isaacs who played Lucius Malfoy, as well as James and Oliver Phelps, who portrayed Fred and George Weasley.
One of the most heartfelt and touching tributes came from Emma Thompson, who not only played Professor Sybil Trelawney in the Harry Potter films, but costarred with Rickman in other films, notably Love Actually.
David Itzkoff of The New York Times shared Thompson’s ode to her friend.
“Alan was my friend and so this is hard to write because I have just kissed him goodbye.
What I remember most in this moment of painful leave-taking is his humour, intelligence, wisdom, and kindness. His capacity to fell you with a look or lift you with a word.
That intransigence which made him the great artist that he was — his ineffable and cynical wit, the clarity with which he saw most things, including me, and the fact that he never spared me the view. I learned a lot from him.
He was the finest of actors and directors. I couldn’t wait to see what he was going to do with his face next. I consider myself hugely privileged to have worked with him so many times and to have been directed by him.
He was the ultimate ally. In like, art and politics. I trusted him absolutely.
He was, above all things, a rare and unique human being and we shall not see his like again.”
What stands out in all of these is the admiration for the man that Rickman was off-camera, even more so than the brilliant performer he was on the screen. For someone that will forever be remembered for playing a character of sadness and guilt, Alan Rickman the man will be remembered for his kindness and warmth.
He will be remembered. Always.
Please share your favorite memories of Alan Rickman with us below.
Image: Warner Brothers