Alan Rickman was an English actor known for his roles in films like the Harry Potter series, Die Hard, and Sense and Sensibility among many others. He had an illustrious career on both the stage and screen before his untimely death in 2016 at the age of 69.
In this article, we will look at Alan Rickman’s background, his iconic acting roles, his net worth, and how he accumulated his wealth over his decades-long career.
Alan Rickman’s Background
Over his four-decade career, he portrayed several iconic villainous roles, including Hans Gruber in “Die Hard,” Severus Snape in the “Harry Potter” films, and Judge Claude Frollo in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
His rich, deep voice, masterful delivery, and ability to convey complex emotions made him a revered figure in the entertainment industry.
Early Life and Education
Alan Rickman was born on February 21, 1946 in Hammersmith, London to a working class family. His father Bernard Rickman was a factory worker and his mother Margaret Doreen Rose was a housewife. Rickman attended the nearby Derwentwater Primary School followed by Latymer Upper School where he became involved in drama.
After high school, Rickman attended Chelsea College of Art and Design and then the Royal College of Art where he studied graphic design. During this time, Rickman met friends for life and future collaborators such as Ruby Wax and Marianne Elliott.
Early Stage Career
After college, Rickman worked as a graphic designer for periodsical The Notting Hill Herald and the radical newspaper the Friends of China. But soon Rickman’s interest in acting led him to audition for and win a spot at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Rickman studied there from 1972-1974.
After graduating, Rickman supported himself working as a dresser for actors while looking for acting work. His first big break came in 1975 playing Tybalt in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Romeo and Juliet. This launched his stage career during which he performed in and directed various plays. Some highlights include starring roles in Antony and Cleopatra and Les Liaisons Dangereuses.
Rickman’s Major Acting Roles and Films
Alan Rickman, a distinguished English actor renowned for his charismatic voice and captivating screen presence, captivated audiences with his performances in iconic films such as “Die Hard,” “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,” and the “Harry Potter” series.
Throughout his illustrious career, he masterfully portrayed a diverse range of characters, from complex villains to nuanced heroes, leaving an indelible mark on the world of cinema.
Breakout Role in Die Hard
Rickman’s first movie role came in 1985 in the film The Barchester Chronicles. But it was his portrayal of cunning villain Hans Gruber in the 1988 action film Die Hard opposite Bruce Willis that put Rickman on the map in Hollywood.
With his cool demeanor, clipped accent, and sinister smile, Rickman’s Gruber became one of the most memorable villains in modern cinema. Die Hard earned over $140 million worldwide and launched Rickman towards fame.
Harry Potter Series as Severus Snape
Perhaps Rickman’s most beloved role was as the complicated Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films. He portrayed the mysterious, sometimes cruel Potions master and professor throughout all eight Harry Potter films from 2001-2011.
Though the character was imperfect and Rickman himself was much older than Snape was intended to be in the books, Rickman’s emotional depth and complexity brought the character to life. The role endeared Rickman to legions of Harry Potter fans and became one of his acting calling cards.
The Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
In the 1991 adventure film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Rickman played yet another unforgettable villainous role as the evil Sheriff of Nottingham opposite Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood.
Rickman’s hilarious, scene-stealing performance as the Sheriff highlighted his talent for balancing humor and villainy. The film was one of the biggest box office hits of 1991.
Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility
Rickman succeeded in more benevolent romantic roles as well like Colonel Brandon in 1995’s Sense and Sensibility directed by Ang Lee. As the kind, older love interest to Emma Thompson’s Elinor Dashwood, Rickman added gravitas and tenderness to the part. The acclaimed literary adaptation was a box office and critical success, earning Rickman a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Hans Schmidt in Love Actually
No stranger to romantic roles, Rickman once again captured audiences as the sweet but flawed character of Hans in 2003’s Love Actually ensemble cast film directed by Richard Curtis.
Hans’ storyline of buyng his wife a gold necklace that she ends up gifting resonated with audiences. The hugely popular holiday romantic comedy was a box office smash around the world.
Rickman’s Other Notable Roles
Some other memorable Rickman parts included:
- Jamie in Truly, Madly, Deeply (1990)
- P.L. O’Hara in An Awfully Big Adventure (1995)
- Eamon de Valera in Michael Collins (1996)
- Dr Alfred Blalock in Something the Lord Made (2004)
- Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
- Ronald Reagan in The Butler (2013)
- King Louis XIV in A Little Chaos (2015)
He also voiced characters in films like Alice in Wonderland (2010), The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005), and played Severus Snape in the Harry Potter video games.
In addition to his prolific screen career, Rickman continued working in theater throughout his life. He performed in and directed plays while taking breaks between films. Some of his acclaimed stage work included starring in Noel Coward’s Private Lives and directing the premier of My Name is Rachel Corrie in 2005.
Rickman’s Net Worth and Wealth Breakdown
According to multiple reports, Alan Rickman’s net worth at the time of his death in 2016 was approximately $16 million dollars. Here is a breakdown of where his wealth came from:
- Film salary earnings – The biggest source of Rickman’s wealth undoubtedly came from his salaries as an actor in over 60 films. Top stars in major Hollywood franchises like Harry Potter and Die Hard are able to negotiate multi-million dollar paydays especially after proving bankability at the box office. For example, it is estimated Rickman earned $250,000 for his work in the first Harry Potter and over $2 million by the end for his integral role as Snape.
- Television earnings – Rickman appeared less frequently on TV but still earned income from made-for-TV movies and voice work on shows like King of the Hill.
- Theater salary and directing income – Working in theater does not earn the mega millions like Hollywood films, but Rickman consistently earned income from his stage work over his four decade career. He also likely earned revenue directing some plays.
- Real estate investments – Rickman and his wife owned a home in London valued at approximately $1.5 million dollars. Owning property, especially in desirable locations like London, also constitutes a major source of wealth.
- Other business investments and royalties – From his graphic design background to involvement in films, Rickman was savvy enough to earn extra income from smart investments and business deals during his career. He also earned royalties from films long after they aired from his stake in profits.
Careful financial choices allowed Alan Rickman to amass a multi-million dollar net worth by the time of his passing. His storied career as one of the most compelling British actors of recent times lives on as his legacy.
Alan Rickman left behind an acting legacy filled with some of the most memorable film villains and heroes of contemporary cinema after passing away from cancer at just 69 years old. With a net worth of approximately $16 million, he accumulated considerable wealth thanks to his prolific acting work on screen and on stage in England over four decades.
The trained classical actor with the inimitable voice found global fame late in life following breakout hits like Die Hard and Robin Hood, before achieving icon status as Professor Snape in the beloved Harry Potter franchise.
Rickman’s net worth serves as a testament to both his acting skills and prudent financial savvy that allowed him to become exceptionally wealthy pursuing his creative passion. His roles will entertain audiences for generations to come.
Frequently Asked Questions about Alan Rickman’s Net Worth
How much was Alan Rickman worth?
It is estimated Alan Rickman had a net worth of approximately $16 million at the time of his death in 2016. The vast majority of his wealth came from his salaries as an in-demand film and stage actor over a 40+ year career.
What were Alan Rickman’s highest grossing movies?
Some of the highest grossing films Rickman appeared in were:
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011) – $1.3 billion
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) – $974.8 million
- Alice in Wonderland (2010) – $1 billion
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) – $934 million
- Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) – $390 million
Did Alan Rickman direct any plays or movies?
Rickman directed several plays during his career including My Name is Rachel Corrie in 2005 at the Royal Court Theatre. He won an Olivier Award for Best Director for that play. However, Rickman never directed any films for the big screen based on available records.
Was Alan Rickman married and did he have any children?
Yes, Alan Rickman was married to his wife Rima Horton from 2012 until his death in 2016. Rima Horton was an English Labour party politician and economist whom Rickman met when they were teenagers. The two were long-term partners for over 50 years before officially marrying. They did not have any children.
How did Alan Rickman die?
Alan Rickman died on January 14, 2016 at the age of 69. The cause of death was pancreatic cancer which had been diagnosed in August 2015. Rickman kept his illness private from all but his closest family and friends until his passing. He filmed his final two roles while secretly battling the cancer.