Alan Rickman: Friends and stars pay tribute
Tributes have flooded in to "magnificent" and "witty" British actor Alan Rickman, well-known for his roles on stage and in films including Harry Potter and Die Hard.
Dame Helen Mirren, who appeared with Rickman in Anthony and Cleopatra at the National Theatre in 1998 (pictured), said: "Alan was a towering person, physically, mentally and as an artist.
"He was utterly distinctive, with a voice that could suggest honey or a hidden stiletto blade, and the profile of a Roman emperor. He was also a great friend, generous and social. He will be very missed by many."
Harry Potter author JK Rowlingtweeted: "There are no words to express how shocked and shocked and devastated I am to hear of Alan Rickman's death. He was a magnificent actor & a wonderful man.
"My thoughts are with Rima and the rest of Alan's family. We have all lost a great talent. They have lost part of their hearts."
Harry Potter co-star Daniel Radcliffe wrote: "Alan Rickman is undoubtedly one of the greatest actors I will ever work with. He is also, one of the loyalest and most supportive people I've ever met in the film industry. He was so encouraging of me both on set and in the years post-Potter.
"I'm pretty sure he came and saw everything I ever did on stage both in London and New York. He didn't have to do that. I know other people who've been friends with him for much much longer than I have and they all say 'if you call Alan, it doesn't matter where in the world he is or how busy he is with what he's doing, he'll get back to you within a day'.
"People create perceptions of actors based on the parts they played so it might surprise some people to learn that contrary to some of the sterner (or downright scary) characters he played, Alan was extremely kind, generous, self-deprecating and funny. And certain things obviously became even funnier when delivered in his unmistakable double-bass.
"As an actor he was one of the first of the adults on Potter to treat me like a peer rather than a child. Working with him at such a formative age was incredibly important and I will carry the lessons he taught me for the rest of my life and career. Film sets and theatre stages are all far poorer for the loss of this great actor and man."
Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films, wrote on Facebook: "I'm very sad to hear about Alan today. I feel so lucky to have worked and spent time with such a special man and actor. I'll really miss our conversations. RIP Alan. We love you."
Long-time friend and frequent co-star Emma Thompson wrote: "Alan was my friend and so this is hard to write because I have just kissed him goodbye.
"What I remember most in this moment of painful leave-taking is his humour, intelligence, wisdom and kindness. His capacity to fell you with a look or lift you with a word. The intransigence which made him the great artist he was - his ineffable and cynical wit, the clarity with which he saw most things, including me, and the fact that he never spared me the view. I learned a lot from him.
"He was the finest of actors and directors. I couldn't wait to see what he was going to do with his face next. I consider myself hugely privileged to have worked with him so many times and to have been directed by him.
"He was the ultimate ally. In life, art and politics. I trusted him absolutely.
"He was, above all things, a rare and unique human being and we shall not see his like again."
Sir Ian McKellen, who appeared with Rickman in the 1996 TV movie Rasputin, wrote on Facebook:
"There is so much that is matchless to remember about Alan Rickman. His career was at the highest level, as actor on stage and screen and as director ditto. His last bequest of his film A Little Chaos and his indelible performance as Louis 14th, should now reach the wider audience they deserve.
"Beyond a career which the world is indebted to, he was a constant agent for helping others. Whether to institutions like Rada or to individuals and certainly to me, his advice was always spot-on. He put liberal philanthropy at the heart of his life.
"He and Rima Horton (50 years together) were always top of my dream-list dinner guests. Alan would by turns be hilarious and indignant and gossipy and generous. All this delivered sotto, in that convoluted voice, as distinctive as Edith Evans, John Gielgud, Paul Scofield, Alec Guinness, Alastair Sim or Bowie, company beyond compare.
"When he played Rasputin, I was the Tzar Nicholas. Filming had started before I arrived in St Petersburg. Precisely as I walked into the hotel-room, the phone rang. Alan, to say welcome, hope the flight was tolerable and would I like to join him and Greta Scacchi and others in the restaurant in 30 minutes? Alan, the concerned leading man. On that film, he discovered that the local Russian crew was getting an even worse lunch than the rest of us. So he successfully protested. On my first day before the camera, he didn't like the patronising, bullying tone of a note which the director gave me. Alan, seeing I was a little crestfallen, delivered a quiet, concise resume of my career and loudly demanded that the director up his game.
"Behind his starry insouciance and careless elegance, behind that mournful face, which was just as beautiful when wracked with mirth, there was a super-active spirit, questing and achieving, a super-hero, unassuming but deadly effective.
"I so wish he'd played King Lear and a few other classical challenges but that's to be greedy. He leaves a multitude of fans and friends, grateful and bereft."
Others paying tribute included actress Mia Farrow, who wrote: "Everyone who knew Alan Rickman - or worked with him or watched his brilliant performances, feels this awful loss.
"Such a lovely, kind, generous, funny and brilliant man. Thank you Alan Rickman for that and for so many flawless performances."
Hollywood star Susan Sarandonsaid: "Alan Rickman was an actor's actor; courageous, generous, witty & surprising. When he laughed he lit up a room. A prince. You will be missed."
Comedian and writer Stephen Frytweeted: "What desperately sad news about Alan Rickman. A man of such talent, wicked charm & stunning screen & stage presence. He'll be sorely missed."
Zoolander and Meet the Parents actor Ben Stillersaid: "What a wonderful actor Alan Rickman was. He literally created his own genre of character. #RIP"
Charlie Sheentweeted: "We lost a genius today, Alan Rickman. This gentleman redefined the big screen villain, forever. RIP"
And comedian Eddie Izzardtweeted: "I do not want my heroes to die! Alan Rickman is dead & he was another hero. Alan - thank you for being with us. We are sorry you had to go."
Friend and co-star Sir Michael Gambon, who play Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films, told BBC World at One: "Everybody loved Alan. He was great. I can't believe this has happened.
"He was always happy and fun, and creative, and very, very funny. I could never be with him doing Harry Potter and keep a straight face. I laughed most of the time. Alan was just brilliant, and it's a terrible shock.
"He was a great stage actor. I spent years with him as a friend. We spent most of our time laughing or wondering what play we were going to do next."
Harry Potter actor James Phelps, who played Fred Weasley, said on Twitter he was "shocked and sad" to hear the news. He wrote: "One of the nicest actors I've ever met. Thoughts and prayers with his family at this time."
His twin brother Oliver Phelps, who played George Weasley, added: "Terribly sad news about the passing of Alan Rickman. A funny and engaging person who put a shy young actor at ease when I was on Harry Potter."
Other Harry Potter co-stars who have paid tribute to the actor include Warwick Davis, who tweeted: "So terribly sad to hear of the passing of Alan Rickman. Honoured to have shared the screen with him. #Marvin #Snape He'll be sorely missed."
Chris Rankin, who played Percy Weasley, wrote: "Just had awful news of Alan Rickman's death. Utterly devastated. Nothing more to say at this time."