1. Alan was an accomplished graphic design artist.
There was a chance Alan may have ended up behind a drawing board instead of in front of a camera. He studied graphic design at the Chelsea College of Art and Design and the Royal College of Art. When Alan graduated, he set up Graphiti, a graphic design company with his friends. However, the stage and screen was calling. See what Alan’s Harry Potter cast members had to say about him here.
2. Alan did not start acting until he was almost 30!
“There was an inevitability about my being an actor since the age of 7,” Alan once said, according to Biography.com, “but there were other roads that had to be travelled first.” This is true, as Alan applied to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art when he was 25 and graduated two years later.
3. He finally settled down in 2015 – after dating the same woman for 50 years.
Alan met Rima Horton in 1965, and it must have been love at first sight because the two spent the next half-century together. After 50 years of being boyfriend-girlfriend, they decided it was time to say “I Do” in secret. “We are married. Just recently. It was great, because no one was there,” Alan told the German newspaper, Bild, in Apr. 2015.
4. He was a great actor – even during the times he wasn’t acting!
Alan took cello lessons for his role in Truly Madly Deeply. During the film, it’s his actual right hand maneuvering the bow, but thanks to some movie magic, a trained cellist is operating the “left hand.” There was no stunt double for Alan when he took his iconic 20-foot fall in Die Hard. Plus, that look on his face is actual fear, according to Sploid. Director John McTiernan thought it would be “funny” to drop Alan early, surprising the actor by letting go on a count of “1” instead of “3.”
5. Though he was great at playing baddies, he had a huge heart.
Alan’s final job was taping a voiceover for the short film, This Tortoise Could Save A Life, for the Save the Children and Refugee Council, according to The Guardian. He was also the Honorary President of International Performers Aid Trust, an organization assisting artists and performers challenged by poverty.
Our thoughts continue to go out to Alan’s family during their time of loss.