Alan Rickman, a Shakespeare-trained actor who became famous as charismatic bad guys in "Die Hard" and the "Harry Potter" films, has died of cancer. He was 69.
His family released a statement saying he died Thursday surrounded by family and friends, the BBC reports.
One of Britain's best loved and admired actors, Rickman was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, according to the Guardian. He became a Broadway star and earned a Tony nomination as the seducer Valmont in Christopher Hampton's "Les Liaisons Dangereuses."
In film, he became best known for playing screen villains, notably as terrorist Hans Gruber facing off elegantly against Bruce Willis in "Die Hard." He was also a funny Sheriff of Nottingham in "Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves."
Younger generations came to known him as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies.
He showed a gentler, more romantic side in 1990's "Truly Madly Deeply," 1995's "Sense and Sensibility" and "Love Actually" in 2003.
While never earning an Oscar nomination, he was nominated or received numerous other awards, including an Emmy, a Golden Globe and a British Academy Film Award.
Martha Ross provides celebrity commentary for the Bay Area News Group. Follow her at twitter.com/marthajross.