Thompson continued: I couldnt wait to see what he was going to do with his face next He was the ultimate friend. In life, arts and politics. I trusted him absolutely. He was, above all things, a rare and unique human being and we shall not watch his like again.
Sorry, your browser is unable to play this video. Sheriff of Nottingham to Severus Snape: Alan Rickmans most memorable roles
An actor whose arch features and languid enunciation were recognisable across the generations, Rickman began his career in the theater but found international stardom with a clutch of high-profile cinema roles including Hans Gruber in Die Hard( 1988) and a charming, dastardly sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves( 1991 ). But it was his part as
Professor Snape in the Harry Potter movies which observed him a fresh legion of fans.
Cast and crew on those movies were also quick to pay tribute to the actor. Daniel Radcliffe
wrote that Rickman was one of the greatest actors I will ever work with as well as one of the loyalest and most supportive people Ive ever met in the film industry.
Rickman with Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire( 2005 ). Photograph: Allstar/ Warner Bros
The younger performer remembered how Rickman came to see every play he was in, and how all Rickmans acquaintances enjoyed his attentive relationship: If you call Alan, it doesnt matter where in the world he is or how busy he is with what hes doing, hell get back to you within a day.
Said co-star Emma Watson: I feel so lucky to have worked and spent hour with such a special man and performer. Ill actually miss our dialogues. RIP Alan. We love you. Rupert Grint said he was devastated and that[ e] ven though he has gone I will always hear his voice.
Rickmans illness had not been publicly known and the seeming suddenness of his death was reflected in many of the tributes. Jason Isaacs said he was[ s] idestepped by the awful news. The polar opposite of the icy, manipulating characters he became best known for, Alan was hilarious, warm-hearted and fabulous company.
JK Rowling, who wrote the Harry Potter volumes, told: There are no terms to express how shocked and devastated I am to hear of Alan Rickmans death. He was a magnificent performer& a wonderful man.
Ralph Fiennes, who played Voldemort, described Rickman as a dear friend. I cannot believe he is gone and we are the poorer for it, he told. But his spirit and great generosity live on the hearts of all persons who knew him. Funny, acutely perceptive, extraordinarily loyal and devoting – Alan cared.
Michael Gambon Dumbledore in the latter movies told: Everybody loved Alan. He was always happy and fun and creative and very, very funny.
Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman at the premiere of A Little Chaos in New York, June 2015. Photograph: Evan Agostini/ Invision/ AP
Last year, Rickman attained his second cinema as director: A Little Chaos, established in the gardens of Versailles and starring
Kate Winslet( the object of Rickmans affection in Sense and Sensibility ). Winslet, who was also Oscar-nominated on Thursday, remembered the kindest and best of men[ who] had the patience of a saint. He was a warm-hearted puppy dog, who would do anything for anyone if it attained them happy.
Winslet said that, aged 19, she had initially been intimated by Rickman before realising he was an exceptionally warm and devoting man and an utterly phenomenal performer and gifted director. And that voice! Oh, that voice We are all so devastated to lose Alan.
Rickman has two movies still to be released, including Eye in the Sky, a droning war thriller in which he features alongside
Helen Mirren. The two starred together in a 1998 stage production of Antony and Cleopatra. Mirren remembered Rickman as a great friend and a towering person, physically, mentally and as an artist whose voice could suggest honey or a concealed stiletto blade, and the profile of a Roman Emperor.
Rickman and Mirren in Antony and Cleopatra. Photo: John Stillwell/ PA
Rickman had been in a relationship with economics professor and former Labour councillor Rima Horton since 1965; the two married in 2012. He remained politically active throughout his life: he was born, he told, a card-carrying member of the Labour party, and was highly involved with charities including Saving Faces and the International Performers Aid Trust.
In 2005, he directed the award-winning play
My Name is Rachel Corrie, which he and Katharine Viner now Guardian editor-in-chief compiled from the emails of the student who was killed by a bulldozer while protesting against the actions of Israels armed forces in the Gaza Strip.
Sigourney Weaver, Rickmans co-star in 1999 comedy Galaxy Quest and 2006 drama Snow Cake, cited the play, telling: He used his talent always to make a difference, his production of Rachel Corrie being one of the most powerful examples.
Alans enormous strength of character infused every character he played, she continued. Who else could have brought such pain and wit to Snape? I cant believe hes gone.
Ian McKellen, who starred alongside him in an HBO film about Rasputin, told Rickman put liberal philanthropy at the heart of his life and was a super-active spirit, questing and attaining, a super-hero, unassuming but deadly effective.
Others paying tribute to the actor remarked on his almost hypnotic hold over audiences and his countless devoted fans. His close friend
Ruby Wax said that when she first watched him on stage, he was the most charismatic, sexiest thing Id ever seen.
Rickman directed Waxs standup proves for 20 years a little-known career credit for the actor. He had brilliant comic timing, she told. Hed say my lines and I would sob with laughing. But he could also play dry: the eyes would go slit-like and hed deliver unbelievable lines. I dont suppose Alan was appreciated as much as he should have been.
Stephen Poliakoff, with whom Rickman worked on 1999 psychodrama Close My Eyes, said the people often underestimated Rickmans capacity for career-anxiety as well as his allure for audiences. At a party before Rickmans breakthrough stage performance in Les Liaisons Dangereuses at the RSC, he remembered Rickman telling: Im virtually 40 and nobody here knows who I am.
Ruby Wax and Alan Rickman in 2005. Photo: Nick Harvey/ WireImage
Said Poliakoff: People said he wasnt sexy enough, heterosexual directors in the theater didnt think he was attractive to women just about the greatest miscalculation in showbiz history!
Rickman was a man with whom many enjoyed long-lasting associations. Richard Wilson had known him since 1980, and they remained close despite never again working together. Even when he was ill, he had that great stillness and great dignity, told Wilson, who credited Rickmans professional success to his ability to be very metamorphic, he could take on anything.
The thing about Alan is that although he became a film star, one continually met him in tiny fringe venues all over the country. He was just so generous with his time, and with his encouragement. He was just very, very giving.
Richard Wilson, Alan Rickman, Harriet Walter and Emma Fielding in 2009. Photo: Alan Davidson
Harriet Walter first met Rickman in 1981 and described him as the most generous man I ever met a mentor and brothers and sisters figure to a generation of us. She was another of the many friends who told Rickman was loyal enough to see every stage production they were in.
Alan Rickman and Rima Horton, March 2015. Photograph: Mark Sullivan/ WireImage
Catherine Bailey, a fellow student of Rickmans at Rada, had remained in touch with him for half a century; the pair attained
a short film together in 2014.
He could stimulate the impossible happen, she told. I watched him two days before he died and he wanted to hear about me and my family and how we were A man of great integrity, fiercely loyal and discreet, a friend to so many, loved by so many.
Bailey also paid tribute to his wife. My heart goes out to Rima, she wrote. Mutually supportive, devoted in life and there for each other in death.