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Famed British film and stage actor Alan Rickman, whose voice became one of the most famous in Hollywood, has died at the age of 69 after a battle with cancer. Rickman was best known to American audiences for his iconic roles in Die Hard and Harry Potter.
According to The Guardian, Rickman’s family said he was diagnosed with cancer not long ago, and had been battling the disease out of the spotlight.
Rickman did not become a household name until he was 41 years old, when he landed the role of the villain of Hans Gruber in Die Hard, alongside Bruce Willis, in 1988.
In a recent interview, Rickman said he almost didn’t take the role in Die Hard, which kickstarted his career. But according to CNN, he said it was the diversity and progressive script that won him over.
“Every single black character in that film is positive and highly intelligent,” he said. “So, 28 years ago, that’s quite revolutionary, and quietly so.”
From there, he would go on to star with Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman in 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, as well as countless other films like Sense And Sensibility and Love Actually.
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But it was his role as Severus Snape that introduced him to legions of younger fans in the film adaptations of the worldwide phenomenon Harry Potter.
Rickman was also a well-known political activist and outspoken advocate against global poverty.