Rickman is known for both his work on the big screen and on stage, where he was able to play a wide variety of roles, ranging from villain to romantic lead. Younger audiences know him as Professor Snape from the Harry Potter film franchise, and he also gained notoriety for his roles in Die Hard, Sense and Sensibility, Love Actually and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Later work included director Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Alice in Wonderland.
Rickman's work in theater has been extensive, particularly earlier in his career, when he performed with such high-profile groups as the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Court Drama Group. His breakthrough came when he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play in 1987 for his role in Christopher Hampton's adaptation of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, and he was nominated for another Tony Award in 2002 for his role in Private Lies.
During the course of his long-running career, Rickman won numerous awards including an Emmy, a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a BAFTA.
Rickman is survived by his wife, Rima Horton. In April, the actor revealed that he married Horton in a secret ceremony in 2012, after dating for nearly 50 years. The two had been together since first meeting as teenagers in 1965.
"It was great, because no one was there," Rickman said about the low-key ceremony to German newspaper Bild. "After the wedding in New York we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and ate lunch."
Rickman's final on-screen role can be seen opposite Helen Mirren in Eye In the Sky, which is set to be released in the U.S. on March 11. His final role will be as the voice of the Blue Caterpillar in Disney's Alice Through the Looking Glass, which hits theaters on May 27.