Kate Winslet has written a moving tribute to her late friend, acclaimed actor Alan Rickman, who died of cancer in January aged 69. The actress, who starred alongside the British actor in Sense and Sensibility and A Little Chaos, described the Harry Potter star as a "great big softie".
"He was always a great big softy," she wrote in Entertainment Weekly. "If there was one word I could use to really describe Al, it would be kind. He was so kind." The 41-year-old recalled how Alan always made sure he paid for dinner before anyone else got the chance. She added: "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 cheque. He'd just say, 'I've got two words for you: Harry Potter.' And he became known for doing that."
Kate Winslet starred alongside Alan Rickman in Sense And Sensibility and A Little Chaos
Shortly after the news of his death was announced, Kate called her former co-star one of "the kindest and best men" she knew. She said: "He was loved enormously by so many. He was an exceptionally warm and giving man and an utterly phenomenal actor and gifted director."
The beloved actor propelled into the limelight in 1998, taking on the role of villain Hans Gruber in the hit Hollywood film Die Hard, opposite Bruce Willis. Alan famously starred as the Sheriff of Nottingham in the 1991 movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, before he found a fresh legion of fans with his more ambiguous role as Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise.
Known for his generosity, Alan left £4million in his will including legacies of £100,000 to charity. He also donated £25,000 each to Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Sponsored Arts for Education, the Facial Surgery Research Foundation known as Saving Faces and the International Performers Aid Trust.