Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman was born on February 21,
1946 in Acton, UK to Irish/Welsh parents. He was their second child,
with an older brother and a sister and brother younger than him.
He was raised in middle-class origins, and according to friends,
always felt uncomfortable with this background as he so obviously
strove to move beyond the class boundaries imposed by British society.
His father died when he was just eight, and his mother was a strong
character who imbued the young Rickman with a sense of self-worth
and respect for women and fairness.
From an early age, creativity and intelligence shone
in the young Alan Rickman. As a child, he scribbled and doodled
and had elegant calligraphy and talent in creating watercolor paintings.
In 1957, Rickman won a scholarship to Latymer Upper, Hammersmith
- the school also responsible for turning out the actors Hugh Grant,
and Mel Smith. It was here that Rickman began to delve into acting
with seriousness, becoming a regular performer in school plays as
member of the 'Gild Drama Club,' a radical Latymer concept where
pupils and masters could compete as equals. The perfectionist in
Rickman, his acting credibility and voice all bought him critical
acclaim - and gave him paranoia about critics.
graduating from Latymer, Rickman was faced with the dilemma of pursuing
acting or design. Circumstances saw him enrolled in a three-year
art and design course at Chelsea College of Art. It was here that
he met his lifetime partner, Rima Horton, and together, they joined
an amateur west London acting group called the Brook Green Players.
Here again, he was recognized in the newspapers for his acting talent.
However, at the time, his conservative background cautioned him
to continue with the art career.
Upon graduating in 1968, Rickman worked in various
graphic design roles, and eventually formed the company, Graphiti
with a group of friends. However, the acting instinct wouldn't go
away. He kept up acting, joining the Court Drama Group with Rima
Horton, playing many eclectic roles. And then, at 25, he found himself
posting a letter to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, asking for
an audition. As foolish as he may have thought this was, it was
an act that changed his life.