Today (14 January 2021) marks the fifth anniversary of Alan Rickman’s death.
The actor died of pancreatic cancer in 2016 at the age of 69, and having only revealed to close friends that he was terminally ill.
The anecdote was originally shared by Kate Winslet, who starred with Rickman in 1995’s Sense and Sensibility.
“He was always a great big softy,” she said. “If there was one word I could use to really describe Al, it would be kind. He was so kind. At Al’s memorial, Juliet Stevenson told the story of how whenever Al would go out to supper and anyone else would try and pay, he would somehow have phoned ahead or slipped his credit card ahead of the meal so no one even got a look at the check.
“He’d just say, ‘I’ve got two words for you: Harry Potter.’ And he became known for doing that.”
Rickman played Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies.
After Rickman’s death, Daniel Radcliffe posted a moving tribute to the actor on Facebook.
“[Alan Rickman] is . . . one of the loyalest and most supportive people I’ve ever met in the film industry. He was so encouraging of me both on set and in the years post-Potter. I’m pretty sure he came and saw everything I ever did on stage both in London and New York. He didn’t have to do that.
"I know other people who’ve been friends with him for much, much longer than I have and they all say, ‘If you call Alan, it doesn’t matter where in the world he is or how busy he is with what he’s doing, he’ll get back to you within a day.’”
Earlier this year, it was announced that 27 diaries written by Rickman will be published as a single book in 2022.