01/14/2016 07:31 EST | Updated 01/14/2016 07:59 EST

3 Things You Didn't Know About Alan Rickman

Let's talk about the "Die Hard" role that almost didn't happen.

On Thursday, cancer claimed the life of British actor Alan Rickman in a London hospital surrounded by family and friends. He was 69.

Rickman’s career spanned five decades and included standout roles that ranged from a breakout appearance in Broadway's “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” in the mid-’80s to “Love Actually” in 2003.

Actress Emma Thompson, who co-starred with Rickman in “Love Actually,” called him the “finest of actors and directors.”

“Alan was my friend and so this is hard to write because I have just kissed him goodbye,” the British actress said in a statement. “He was, above all things, a rare and unique human being and we shall not see his like again.”

Here are three piece of trivia about a man people grew to love the world over:

He Almost Turned Down His ‘Die Hard’ Role

Two days after arriving in Los Angeles in 1987, Rickman was offered the role as villain Hans Gruber in the now-classic action movie. But he didn’t quite like that the antagonist wore “full terrorist gear.”

So, he left a note for producer Joel Silver suggesting Gruber wear a suit instead. He also wanted to tweak the script so the villain could appear as a hostage in one scene.

Silver didn't receive the note well — but when Rickman was handed a new script, he noticed his suggestions had been added.

“It showed that it pays to have a little bit of theatre training,” Rickman said in a Bafta speech last year.

He Did Not Receive A Knighthood

Alan Rickman and wife Rima Horton attend day two of the Qatar Goodwood Festival at Goodwood Racecourse on July 29, 2015 in Chichester, England. (Photo: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for Qatar Goodwood Festival)

In recent years, several petitions have popped up, calling on the Queen to offer a Knighthood to the British actor — but it never happened.

Rickman is one of a few distinguished actors — including Ralph Fiennes, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Kate Winslet — who also haven't received the honour.

Before He Got Into Acting, He Was A Graphic Designer

(Photo: Kickstarter)

Before Rickman graduated from the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in 1974, he earned a degree from the Chelsea College of Art and Design.

During his postgraduate studies, he worked at the student journal Ark as a copy editor and writer. The experience led him to a string of freelancing jobs — “all before computers" came into the picture.

After he graduated, he and his friends founded an agency in London’s Soho neighbourhood. They designed magazine layouts, album sleeves, dust jackets for books, and dabbled in advertising.

In a 2014 interview, Rickman said he and his friends “learned quickly that we had to pay our bills immediately, but that the same rule did not apply to our clients.”

Pinched for cash, Rickman turned to acting.

“It came to a natural finish when I started to work in fringe theater and then went to RADA, and the others merged with Alan Aldridge at Ink Studios,” the actor said. “Happy endings.”

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