The first film in which I recall seeing Alan Rickman was his big-screen debut in Die Hard, as the instantly iconic criminal mastermind Hans Gruber. The second was Truly, Madly, Deeply, a bittersweet love story in which he played a moody—and perpetually chilly—ghost. (Our mutual affinity for the film was one of the early signs that my wife and I were meant to be together. Anyone in the market for a Rickman-related cry need look no farther than the video above.)
The two roles set the template for much of the film career that followed, as Rickman displayed a remarkable aptitude both for sneering villainy (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, the Harry Potter films) and for deep melancholy, whether quiet (Sense and Sensibility) or otherwise (Dogma, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). He was a unique talent and, by all accounts, a unique human being. To say that he will be missed is the grossest of understatements.