It’s been a rough week for art and culture. Alan Rickman, beloved veteran of the stage and screen, passed away early January 14, 2016, just days after the similarly shocking passing of rock god David Bowie. Rickman, whose trademark sonorous voice was scientifically proven to be one of the most perfect voices on the planet, was known for a multitude of film roles, most notably Professor Snape in the Harry Potter movies. Other well-known characters he played include Die Hard’s snarky villain Hans Gruber, Love Actually‘s Harry, who it was just recently revealed, did in fact have an affair with his secretary (boooo!), Galaxy Quest’s sarcastic Shakespearean-trained sci-fi actor Alexander Dane, and ghost-boyfriend Jamie from Truly Madly Deeply. However, some of Rickman’s best and most recognizable roles are his literary ones — and we thought, in honor of his amazing career, we’d share some of our favorites.
Colonel Brandon from Sense and Sensibility (1995)
One of the most beloved characters Rickman brought to the screen is Colonel Christopher Brandon, from the 1995 adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. Brandon was never thought of as a heartthrob until Rickman’s performance, which imbued the grave and quiet character with sensitivity and gentleness.
Marvin the Robot from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)
One of Rickman’s most underrated roles is his vocal performance as Marvin, the preternaturally depressed robot from the 2005 adaptation of Douglas Adams’s The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Rickman’s flat line delivery gives Marvin’s hilariously bleak worldview a scene-stealing quality throughout the film.
The Sheriff Nottingham from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
In a movie filled with bad accents, Alan Rickman’s scenery-chewing performance as the villainous Sherriff of Nottingham is easily the best thing about this 1991 adventure adaptation of the classic legend of medieval heroism. Rickman, who won a BAFTA for this film, is so good that you’re rooting for him more than you’re rooting for Robin Hood (especially when he’s threatening murder by spoon).
Professor Snape from the Harry Potter adaptations
Last but certainly not least, Rickman’s 10-year performance as Professor Severus Snape captured the hearts and minds of an entire generation of book and film lovers. Snape has become one of the most cherished characters to come out of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter universe, and that’s in large part due to Rickman’s flawless portrayal of him.
Rickman leaves behind a wife, no children, and generations of fans who grew to love him over the course of his career.
Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen (Penguin Classics, 2003)
This classic story of romance is sure to pull your heartstrings as you attempt to find your own middle ground in life between passion and reason.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams (Del Rey, 1995)
This sci-fi adventure is hysterical, considering that it starts with the complete obliteration of Planet Earth. Worth reading on its own, the voice of Alan Rickman in your head as Marvin makes it all the better.
Harry Potter Paperback Box Set, J.K. Rowling (Levine Books, 2009)
We can think of no better way to honor Rickman than by delving into the books that he so fantastically brought to life.