Google surprised Harry Potter fans with a delightful tribute to British actor Alan Rickman on Sunday. The search engine displayed a beautiful Google Doodle in his honor, causing fans to share it on social media and remember the beloved late actor.
Rickman was famous for his roles as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films, the vengeful villain Hans Gruber in Die Hard, the gentlemanly Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility, and even as the voice of Marvin the Paranoid Android in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
On this day in 1987, Rickman performed in Les Liaisons Dangereuses, a Broadway play that launched his career. He played the anti-hero Le Vicomte de Valmont and even received a Tony award for his performance. He won a Golden Globe and an Emmy during his career and was also acclaimed for his sensitive roles in films such as Truly Madly Deeply and Love, Actually.
Rickman’s exceptional portrayal of Professor Snape made him famous around the world, and his death from pancreatic cancer in 2016 was a heartbreaking moment for all Harry Potter fans. Many fans paid tribute to the actor by using his line “always” from the films.
In 2011, Rickman revealed that Harry Potter writer JK Rowling had given him “one tiny, left-of-field piece of information” about Snape. He said that it helped him think of Snape as a more complex character and made the story less straightforward. Rowling had only written a few books at the time, so no one knew where the story was going, but she gave Rickman a small piece of information that helped him portray Snape as more ambiguous. When asked what the information was, she replied, “I told Alan what lies behind the word ‘always’.”