22 Incredible Photos Of Alan Rickman Throughout The Icon's Dazzling Life & Career

Known across the pond as a legendary theater and screen actor — and to many more around the world as Professor Severus Snape and Hans Gruber — Alan Rickman was a talented leading man, playing roles in films as varied as Die Hard, Love Actually, and Sense and Sensibility. After a struggle with cancer, he died Thursday; Rickman was 69. Exploring Rickman's life through photos, you can vividly see the professionalism with with he approached his work.

He got his start on stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company and his big break was in 1986 playing Valmont, the seducer in Christopher Hampton’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses, the 18th century play on which the movie Dangerous Liasons would later be based. Just two years later he arrived in Hollywood and struck it big on the big screen within days, being cast as the bad guy in Die Hard against Bruce Willis. He would also star in and win a BAFTA — the British version of an Oscar — for Robin Hood: Men in Tights as the sheriff of Nottingham — not a very nice guy either.

But if you never became Harry Potter fans — the way he muttered "Potter," was truly astounding — you probably recognize him from one of his other biggest roles, this time in a romantic comedy, Love Actually. Acting with Emma Thompson, with whom he appeared in several films, he played a less-than-perfect husband. His many roles in such classic films will ensure that his memory remains, even long after he's gone.

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