Strict, serious, and even dark — this is the impression people could get of Alan Rickman thanks to his most popular roles on screen. But in reality, the beloved British actor was sensitive and cared immensely about everyone around him. From his family and friends to his fans and mere strangers, he kept spreading love everywhere he went.
Bright Side was touched by the stories that different people told about Alan Rickman, and we can’t wait to share them with you!
1. His friends were everything to him.
His friend, actress Juliet Stevenson, told a story of how Alan would use his Harry Potter honorariums to care for his friends. When they went out for dinner with him and someone tried to pay, Alan would always sneak out first and pay with his credit card. This way, he made sure that no one could even have the opportunity to look at the check. If someone tried to object, he just replied, “I’ve got two words for you: Harry Potter.”
2. He helped people not give up on themselves.
Another friend said, “He desperately wanted people to use all their talent, and he hated it when friends talked themselves down. Once, I laughingly said: ’The university suggested I do a doctorate, but I’m not bright enough to do a Ph.D.’ He scolded me for underestimating my own potential, for taking the easy way out by not taking on something tough but achievable seriously. He took me back to his flat and sat me down with his partner, Rima, who was a lecturer, and from that moment sprang the first step to me becoming Dr. Peter Kyle.”
3. He was always eager to share his experience.
His fellow actors often admired Alan for how much he guided, motivated, and looked after them throughout their careers. One of them shared: “Alan Rickman was one of my first heroes. He is an ex-pupil at my school and did the most inspiring Q&A session with us when I was there. One bit of advice he gave was to ’make sure you constantly do things that make you get out of bed in the morning.’ It stuck with me. And when Hans Gruber, the Sherriff of Nottingham, Colonel Brandon, Jamie, and Snape tell you how to live your life — you listen.”
4. He took charity very seriously.
Back in the ’90s, a friend of Alan’s was part of a small group of people setting up an aid agency. The organization needed money to support its operations. Alan had volunteered to help and put on a show at the Brighton Dome to raise money. But handing over a check was never enough for him. They flew together to North-East Romania to work in an orphanage supported by the money he helped raise. Kids loved him.
5. He remained a gentleman in any situation.
One reporter shared her experience working with him: “I had the enormous pleasure to interview Alan several times as a journalist. When I spilled a drink on my dress during an interview, he just took me by the hand and across the street to a really nice store to buy a new one for me.”
6. He never looked down at his young colleagues.
Justin Long remembered his experience at the beginning of his career, when he got to work with Alan: “When I got to work with him on Galaxy Quest, I was a very wide-eyed young actor doing my very first movie. It spoiled me. He treated everyone the same. He always sat and ate his lunch with the crew. He’d stay and do off-camera for the other actors. He was equally generous with his downtime, letting me and Jeremy Howard pick his brain like hungry young acting vultures.”
7. He wasn’t afraid to laugh at himself.
The actor’s first cinematic role was the character of Hans Gruber in Die Hard. Even though this part brought him a lot of recognition, he sincerely joked about the way he got the role: “I got Die Hard because I came cheap. They were paying Bruce Willis $7 million, so they had to find people they could pay nothing.”
8. He loved children.
Throughout his rich career, Rickman built a reputation as an actor who played very serious roles. However, at heart, he was the kindest person and was very close to little children. During the filming of Harry Potter, Alan could be seen in his full Professor Snape costume surrounded by a crowd of little kids playfully chatting with him.
A lady told another touching story of her encounter with Rickman when she was still very young: “When I was 6, I met Alan Rickman at a party. I got scared, but he promised me he wasn’t Snape. When I was leaving, he blew me a kiss.”
9. His fans were very important to him.
“This was outside the stage door at the Golden Theater in Manhattan. My sister and I saw him perform in Seminar, and he was amazing. He had tons of fans waiting for autographs, and he took the time to sign everything. It was a wonderful experience,” a fan remembered.
10. And he would go the extra mile to bring happiness to them.
Which is your favorite Alan Rickman character? Let’s discuss his best acts in the comments!