Dame Maggie Smith Shares Memory of the Late Alan Rickman: “They Adored Him So Much”

If you ever have the pleasure of being in the same space as Dame Maggie Smith, or more likely these days, in the same digital space, we highly suggest that you soak it in. Listening to her tell stories about her career is a treat that everyone should have the opportunity to savor at least once in their life. We naturally love when she speaks about her days on the Harry Potter films, where she spent over a decade portraying the favorite professor of many readers and filmgoers alike, Minerva McGonagall.

Sidenote: She and Kathleen Turner have a conversation with Gyles Brandreth coming up in April. We highly recommend you snag a ticket now and claim your seat at the legendary table. Bonus: It’s for charity!

Our most recent opportunity to share space with Dame Maggie also included a few of her friends, Dame Judi Dench (M in both Pierce Brosnan’s and Daniel Craig’s James Bond tetralogies, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), Sir Derek Jacobi (Gladiator, Underworld: Evolution), and Sir Ian McKellan (Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, Magneto in the X-Men series). The charitable event, dubbed For One Knight Only, was hosted by another favorite and equally legendary actor and director, Sir Kenneth Branagh, whom Potterheads will know as Gilderoy Lockhart. The panel took questions from the audience and reminisced about all the times they themselves have worked together, from theater to film, over their combined nearly 200 years in the business!

It was only natural that the late Alan Rickman would come up at some point, given that he and Dame Maggie worked together, often quite closely, on the Potter films. In response to one audience member’s inquiry as to whether any of the panelists had ever taken a prop or a piece of clothing from set, Dame Maggie shared this beautiful story about Alan Rickman.

Dame Maggie: … I so wanted to take things from Harry Potter, but they frisked you when you left the studio just in case you’ve got a goblet or two up your… [laughter], but Alan Rickman used to get things, and then he’d put them on eBay and make masses of money for the same reason we’re trying to raise money.

Sir Kenneth: How did he manage to do that, then? Did he just push his way through security?

Dame Maggie: I think they adored him so much they would have let him take the whole set, but we were seriously frisked just in case we had goblets and documents and things.


Happy 75th birthday, Alan. We all miss you so!


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Kat Miller

I am a 40-something Ravenclaw/Slytherin from Massachusetts. I've been lucky in life and can attribute a lot of that to Harry Potter. Without it, I wouldn't have at least 80% of the things I do today, including my career & closest friends. I truly despise Sirius Black.