Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman (born 21 February 1946) is an English actor and theatre director. He is a renowned stage actor in modern and classical productions and a former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Rickman is known for his film performances as Hans Gruber in Die Hard, Severus Snape in the Harry Potter film series, Eamon de Valera in Michael Collins, and Metatron in Dogma.
He is also known for his prominent roles as the Sheriff of Nottingham in the 1991 film, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and as Colonel Brandon in Ang Lee's 1995 film Sense and Sensibility. More recently he played Judge Turpin in Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and voiced the Caterpillar in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. The Guardian named Rickman as one of the best actors never to have received an Academy Award nomination.
Rickman was born in Hammersmith, London, to a working class family, the son of Margaret Doreen Rose (née Bartlett), a housewife, and Bernard Rickman, a factory worker. Rickman's mother was from Wales and a Methodist, and his father was of Irish Catholic background. He has one elder brother, David (b. 1944), a graphic designer, a younger brother, Michael (b. 1947), a tennis coach, and a younger sister, Sheila (b. 1949). Rickman attended Derwentwater Primary School, in Acton, a school that followed the Montessori method of education.