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Rickman was born in Hammersmith, London to a working-class family. Rickman attended the Chelsea College of Art and made his way as a graphic artist in Soho. He received a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) which he attended from 1972 – 1974. While there, he won the Emile Littler Prize, the Forbes Robertson Prize, and the Bancroft Gold Medal. Since then, he has been a constant presence on the British stage. A speech defect and an unusual tightness of his jaw have been credited with giving him his unique voice and line delivery.