Effortlessly urbane British actor Alan Rickman enjoyed a distinguished stage career with the Royal Shakespeare Company prior to winning international acclaim in dozens of film and television projects. Following years of work on U.K. television, the actor was instantly entered into the pantheon of all-time movie villains with his portrayal of German terrorist Hans Gruber in the action classic "Die Hard" (1988). Roles like the scheming Sheriff of Nottingham in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" (1991) may have threatened to typecast the award-winning actor, although his romantic lead in "Sense and Sensibility" (1995) convinced audiences of his versatility. Offering further proof, Rickman won an Emmy for his portrayal of the mad Russian monk in the acclaimed biopic "Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny" (HBO, 1996), followed by sardonically comic turns in Kevin Smith's controversial "Dogma" (1999) and the sci-fi spoof "Galaxy Quest" (1999). The role of a lifetime came Rickman's way when he played the morally ambiguous wizard Professor Severus Snape for the first time in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (2001) and all seven blockbuster sequels. He also charmed in real world fare amidst ensemble casts in efforts like "Love Actually" (2003) and became a go-to talent for director Tim Burton in the hits "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (2007) and "Alice in Wonderland" (2010). Rickman's exquisite voice, dramatic command, and languid, cool presence made him a national treasure in his homeland, as well as an honored guest on American screens.