The sad news came out this morning that actor Alan Rickman lost his battle with cancer at the age of 69. He was a classically trained Shakespearean actor who was a star in his home country long before he was a thought in any Hollywood producer or director's mind.

His first major movie role in the U.S. was as the evil Hans Gruber in the 1988 box office smash Die Hard which was the same movie which turned Bruce Willis into an action star. He went on to win numerous awards in the UK and here in the U.S., he was awarded an Emmy, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actor's Guild award.

I think the majority of movie lovers will remember him from his iconic role as the complicated Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films. But for me, the movie which made me notice and fall in love with him and his acting, was a quirky, quiet little film he made in 1990 called Truly, Madly, Deeply, (yes just like the song by Savage Garden, which has nothing to do with the movie).

It was written by late Academy Award-winning director (The English Patient) Anthony Minghella specifically for well-known British actress Juliet Stevenson. It was a BBC production which was made for less than a million dollars and it eventually made its way into film art houses and across the pond, got glowing reviews, and went on to become a well-received video rental, which is where I found it.

The central themes are love and loss, how we deal with both by moving on, by loving again and by leaving. The late film critic Roger Ebert wrote a review which came to represent how most devotees of the film viewed it, "a thinking person's Ghost", only in my estimation, it is so much better. Both Rickman and Stevenson won the equivalent of the British Emmy for their performances and Anthony Minghella got directing job offers from just about every studio in Hollywood afterward.

Truly, Madly, Deeply is funny, dramatic, emotional, and surprising. It is incredibly well-written and acted like it really matters. The performances and the story have stuck with me for decades and I highly recommend it. Both Barnes & Noble and Amazon have it for an unbelievable amount of money! I'm just glad I carry it in my heart and memory.

Hail and farewell to the lovely Alan Rickman.