One would be tempted to refer to Alan Rickman as “inimitable” if he were not so often and so skillfully imitated. In fact, the actor’s rich, cultured, and instantly recognizable voice made him a modern day equivalent of Bela Lugosi or Ed Sullivan—the voice every impressionist thinks he can do. There are enough good Rickman impersonations, in fact, to warrant an entire BuzzFeed article on the subject. Rachael Krishna has helpfully combed YouTube for the best of these clips, which demonstrate just how adored Rickman was by his fellow actors. Benedict Cumberbatch, for instance, turned his impersonation of the Harry Potter and Die Hard star into a signature parlor trick, one he was called upon to perform again and again. Here he is, drolly reciting the lyrics of Elton John’s “Candle In The Wind” in the dulcet tones of Severus Snape:
Cumberbatch’s Rickman has become so well known that he was obliged to participate in a “Rickman Off” (“That sounds like a Russian oligarch’s cocktail!”) on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Steve Coogan, typically, took a more intellectual, deconstructionist approach to imitating the erstwhile Sheriff Of Nottingham. Appearing on a wildly frivolous celebrity chat show called T4, Coogan rather sternly schooled the presenters on how to do Alan Rickman’s voice properly. The key, he points out, is must be done in a low register. Otherwise, all is lost.
When Family Guy wants to do an Alan Rickman-based cutaway gag, it turns to Alex Sulkin, who serves as something of a utility infielder in the show’s voice cast. Like the Tonight Show bit, this clip offers some serious Rickman-on-Rickman action, with the actor repeatedly calling his own answering machine to remind his future self to thaw out some pork chops. “Do not disappoint me.”
And challenging even Benedict Cumberbatch as the most Rickman-obsessed of all celebrities is Tom “Loki” Hiddleston, who will break out his impersonation at the merest of pretexts. Any time and place, it seems, is right for a little Rickman, as Hiddleston proved while making The Avengers.