‘He was a lovely guy’ - Norwich photographer unearths pictures of Alan Rickman in 1969 amateur production
- Credit: Archant
He was a giant of British screen and stage, known for his distinctive drawl and memorable villainous roles.
But a Norwich photographer has unearthed pictures of Alan Rickman, who died from cancer aged 69 on Thursday, taken 47 years ago, before the star became a household name.
Bob Hobbs, Archant's Norfolk Magazine society pages photographer, went to the Chelsea College of Art and Design with the film star, where they both studied graphic design.
While at the college, Mr Rickman asked Mr Hobbs, now 68, to bring his camera to a play he had a role in.
'He said to me one day, 'Bob I'm in an amateur dramatics society, would you like to come and take some photos of me', so I did,' Mr Hobbs said.
'I would have a drink with him every now and then - he was a lovely guy, that's all I can remember really.'
Mr Hobbs, of Hall Road, believes the pictures were taken in 1969 in west London, but cannot recall the name of the production.
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'He is wearing a soldiers uniform but for the life of me I can't remember the name of the play,' he said, 'but I think it was quite a small amateur dramatics show.'
In 1970 the photographer landed a full-time job, while Mr Rickman went on to study at the Royal College of Art, worked at the Notting Hill Herald as a graphic designer and opened his own studio with friends.
After that, at the age of 26, the movie star auditioned with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where his acting career took off.
His most memorable roles include Hans Gruber in Die Hard and Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films.
Since Mr Rickman died, actors including Daniel Radcliffe, Kate Winslet, Juliet Stevenson, Hugh Grant and Emma Watson have paid tribute.
He has been described as 'loved enormously' and an 'utterly phenomenal actor'.
'To be honest I only ever really knew him as Alan,' Mr Hobbs said, 'and I've never watched Harry Potter or many of his films, so it didn't click that it was him. I didn't realise how famous he had become.'
• For more information on Mr Hobbs, visit www.bobhobbsphotography.co.uk
• Can you shed any light on the pictures? Email firstname.lastname@example.org