The breaking news story on ABC 7 Thursday morning was, “British Actor Alan Rickman Has Died.” Although I haven’t experienced all the works of Alan Rickman, I felt the need to write a little tribute to him on behalf of my peers whose lives he has impacted. And of course, it goes without saying that cancer is a sometimes fatal, destructive disease that far too often takes people from our lives before their time.
Rickman was one of the most respected British actors of his time. There’s usually more to an actor than just their work on-screen and this was certainly the case for Alan. He was a humanitarian, with many of his efforts focused on helping children. He was also an incredibly kind and loyal friend to those lucky enough to know him.
“(When I heard the news) I recalled the trailer in which he offered me some of the greatest advice I ever received about this mad profession we shared,” Matthew Lewis, who played Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter movies, shared in an Instagram post. “He inspired my career more than he ever knew.”
Rickman’s death was shocking to all of his fans, not just his Potter co-stars.
For my generation, it’s hard to believe that he is really gone. Rickman, as Professor Severus Snape, was such a crucial part of my childhood, playing the terrifying professor that I never wanted in school. His portrayal of Snape was important for me to see because he taught me that you’re not going to love everybody and certainly not everybody will love you. Harry Potter was often at the wrong end of Snape’s judgment, causing Harry to have a strong disliking of him.
I got a text message the morning of his death was announced that simply said, “Snape died.” And while Rickman’s work in the “Harry Potter” franchise is a large part of his legacy, it’s important to note that Rickman was so much more than Snape. Unlike Snape, Rickman was a caring friend who always was looking out for his colleagues. Star of the “Harry Potter” movie series and long-time friend of Rickman’s, Daniel Radcliffe best captured the man behind the character when he took to Facebook to share his thoughts on Rickman.
“Contrary to some of the sterner (or downright scary) characters he played, Alan was extremely kind, generous, self-deprecating and funny,” Radcliffe wrote. “As an actor, he was one of the first of the adults on Potter to treat me like a peer rather than a child…and I will carry the lessons he taught me for the rest of my life and career.”
Rickman’s memory will not be forgotten. His legacy lives in the art he left behind.