The news on British actor and director Alan Rickman‘s passing from cancer at age 69 left me devastated. It’s strange how even if you never met, a person can still occupy a personal place in your heart. It is beyond saddening to ponder the thought that there will not be another Rickman movie after his upcoming final film, Alice Through the Looking Glass, which has been confirmed to premiere late this year.

Remembering Alan Rickman

Rickman’s longest and most well known role is Professor Snape, a character in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. I was introduced into Harry Potter’s magical world in adolescence. What captivated me is how good and evil are depicted. Snape, with an open mind, is not a bad character. Rickman perfectly portrayed the evil and good he had inside him. Snape, in a world full of black and white, is grey. Rickman’s portrayal showed that even if good and evil are ever-present, we still have the power to choose which one we want to be. The actor swayed our hearts as Snape, he embodied the perplexing character and quickly became a fan favorite. However, we are not grieving Snape.

Rickman is known as one of the greatest Shakespearean actors of our era, having a successful acting career lasting over 40 years. Rickman trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and was also member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, performing modern and classical theater productions. His first television role was in 1982. Rickman’s big break was in the stage theater production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses in 1985, for which he received a Tony Award nomination.

Rickman’s film credits show his range, from Shakespearean to action movie villain. His performance as Hans Gruber in Die Hard is part of what makes the film great. Rickman earned Best Actor in a Supporting Role for the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. He won a Golden Globe an Emmy and a Screen Actors Guild Award for playing the title character in Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny. Rickman is also Jamie from Truly, Madly, Deeply, Harry in Love Actually, P.L. O’Hara in An Awfully Big Adventure, Alexander Dane in Galaxy Quest and Judge Turpin in the film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s musical of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

As I mourn a man of many characters, I am grateful for all the times I departed from a theater feeling content. On stage or on film, Rickman makes the world laugh, cry and smile. Thank you, Alan Rickman, for all your remarkable performances that touched our lives.