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Villain extraordinaire, comedic personality, romantic leading man. All this and more. He has performed in London's West End, on Broadway, in film and on radio and television.

Born on February 21, 1946 in Hammersmith, London, Rickman attended the Royal College of Art and made his way as a graphic artist in Soho. He received a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art which he attended from 1972 - 1974. While there, he won the Emile Litter Prize, the Forbes Robertson Prize, and the Bancroft Gold Medal.

Rickman has worked extensively with various British repertory and experimental theatre groups including The Seagull, Snoo Wilson's The Grass Widow at the Royal Court and has appeared three times at the Edinburgh International Festival.

During this period, he did occasional television work, in roles from Shakespearean drama to LeCarré's international intrigue. Since then, Alan has appeared in two award winning HBO movies, one of which was Uli Edel's Rasputin, in which Rickman played the title role that earned him an Emmy and a Golden Globe in 1996. The second, and most recent, was Joseph Sargent's Something the Lord Made. Mr. Rickman starred as surgeon Alfred Blalock alongside Mos Def's Vivien Thomas, the pair formed the historic duo who pioneered open heart surgery. That film went on to garner critical acclaim as well as an Emmy for Outstanding Made for TV Movie (Alan and Mos were both nominated for their roles).

While working with the Royal Shakespeare Company he starred in, among other things, As You Like It. His casting in The Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses as Le Vicomte de Valmont won him critical and popular acclaim as the elegant and heartless seducer. When the show came across the Atlantic in 1986, Rickman came with it to Broadway and there earned a Tony nomination for his performance.

It was during his stint on Broadway that he was approached by Joel Silver and offered a role in the first Die Hard film in which Rickman's unique interpretation of the villainous Hans Gruber garnered worldwide attention and set a chilling new standard for screen "bad guys." Since then, Rickman has appeared in over two dozen films including Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Sense & Sensibility, Love Actually and Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban.

Mr. Rickman's performance on stage in Noel Coward's romantic comedy Private Lives, which had transferred to Broadway after its successful run in London at the Albery Theatre, ended in September 2002. Rickman had reunited with his Les Liaisons Dangereuses co-star, Lindsay Duncan, and director, Howard Davies for this Tony Award winning production.

His previous stage performance was as Marc Antony, opposite Helen Mirren as Cleopatra, in the Royal National Theatre's production of Antony and Cleopatra at the Olivier Theatre in London, which ran October 20th through December 3rd, 1998. Before that, he performed in Yukio Ninagawa's Tango at the End of Winter in London's West End and the Riverside Studio production of Hamlet in 1991, directed by Robert Sturua. And even directing The Winter Guest at London's Almeida Theatre in 1995 (of which he also directed the film version in 1996).

Mr. Rickman has lent his considerable vocal talents to a number of projects, including the full length features Help! I'm A Fish and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as well as the audio book of Thomas Hardy's The Return of the Native. He was also involved in the When Love Speaks project to which he contributed a reading of Shakespeare's 130th sonnet.

Mr. Rickman has wrapped filming on Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire, due out in the fall of 2005 as well as principal photography for Marc Evans' Snow Cake and is currently preparing to film Perfume: The Story of a Murderer in Barcelona.

Credit: http://www.rickman-online.net/, http://www.alan-rickman.com/