Rickman was lucky enough to meet the woman who would become his wife when they were both young. Rickman was 19 and Rima Horton was 18 when they met in 1965. In 1997, they moved in together.
Rickman and Horton got married in secret in 2012. Rickman only revealed that they were married during an interview in 2015. He said, "We are married. Just recently. It was great, because no one was there. After the wedding in New York we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and ate lunch."
Rickman was naturally talented in the arts, but he turned his aspirations toward design, rather than acting. He thought that design was a more stable profession than acting was. Luckily for us, Rickman finally gave into his heart and enrolled in Britain's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1972.
3. Rickman's Voice Was Criticized During Drama School
While Rickman may be known for his amazingly beautiful voice, it wasn't always a characteristic that he took pride in. During drama school, Rickman's voice — both when singing and speaking — was criticized. "Alan, you sound as if your voice is coming under the back end of the drain pipe was one review from my voice teacher," Rickman said, describing his teacher's criticism.
Most aspiring actors go to Hollywood and audition for years before landing their first movie role. Rickman was offered the role of Hans Gruber in Die Hard just two days after arriving in Los Angeles. Rickman was 41 and had never before had a movie role.
But after landing the role of Hans Gruber so quickly, Rickman almost turned it down. "I didn’t know anything about LA. I didn’t know anything about the film business," he said. "I read it and I said, ‘What the hell is this? I’m not doing an action movie…’" Luckily his agent convinced him to take the role, which helped to launch his career.
5. Rickman Injured Himself Filming His First Scene of 'Die Hard'
Rickman actually hurt himself during the very first scene he shot with Bruce Willis. He initially thought that he had torn a ligament, but it turns out he'd torn cartilage. Rickman said of the incident, "I hadn’t even shot a scene! I was still in my costume, and I said, 'Could you pull the trouser leg down over that splint thing?' I went back up to the 33rd floor and carried on shooting."
Despite the massive success of his acting career, Rickman never won an Oscar. He did receive an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and a BAFTA. But it never seemed to bother Rickman; in 2008, he said, “Parts win prizes, not actors."
J.K. Rowling wanted Rickman to play Snape in the Harry Potter series, and she let him in on a secret so that he could master the character. "She then gave me this elliptical piece of information that I didn't really understand at first. It was information she hadn't told anyone else, not even her sister, but it gave me what I needed to take on Snape," said Rickman. The information Rowling gave him hadn't yet been published.
8. Rickman Pranked Daniel Radcliffe
Rickman and Michael Gambon played a prank on Daniel Radcliffe. They put a remote-control fart machine inside Radcliffe's sleeping bag. Radcliffe later admitted that it was the best prank pulled on the set. Click on the video above and see for yourself!
Rickman was no stranger to stage fright. He particularly had it when acting on stage, and described it as being "a gremlin that sits on your shoulder." He even considered hypnosis to get over the fear.
We all loved Rickman's melancholy tone and unusual speech delivery. But did you know that Rickman actually had a speech impediment? He couldn't move his lower jaw properly as a child, resulting in his distinctive way of speaking.
It turns out that Rickman had a deep appreciation for our feathered friends. "I'm fascinated watching a flock of birds," he said during an interview on 2012. "What's going on there? How do they know they're with more of them, anyway?"
12. Rickman Said Goodbye To Harry Potter In The Best Way Possible
At the ending of the filming of Harry Potter, Rickman wrote a note reflecting on the films. It reads:
"I have just returned from the dubbing studio where I spoke into a microphone as Severus Snape for absolutely the last time. On the screen were some flashback shots of Daniel, Emma, and Rupert from ten years ago. They were 12. I have also recently returned from New York, and while I was there, I saw Daniel singing and dancing (brilliantly) on Broadway. A lifetime seems to have passed in minutes.
Three children have become adults since a phone call with Jo Rowling, containing one small clue, persuaded me that there was more to Snape than an unchanging costume, and that even though only three of the books were out at that time, she held the entire massive but delicate narrative in the surest of hands.
It is an ancient need to be told in stories. But the story needs a great storyteller. Thanks for all of it, Jo.