Actor Sir John Hurt has passed away at age 77, according to THR. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015, though it is not clear if that was the cause of death. Hurt was knighted in 2015 by the Queen. He is survived by a wife and two sons.
Hurt was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire in 1940, the youngest of three children. His mother was an engineer who dabbled in acting, his father was a mathematician and a vicar. Hurt was raised very strictly, he was not allowed to go to the movies or play with the neighborhood children.
At the age of eight he was sent to a religious school, where he first began to love acting after seeing Alec Guinness in Oliver Twist. As an adult, Hurt admitted to having been abused by the school’s Senior Master. He transferred to another school at age 12, where his parents discouraged his acting and tried to convince him to become an art teacher. He did get his diploma as an Art Teacher before attending The Royal Academy for The Dramatic Arts.
Hurt began his career in the 1960s, with his first major role in A Man for All Seasons. He won two Golden Globes, for Midnight Express and The Elephant Man, the latter of which also earned him an Oscar nomination. Furthermore, he played Kane in Alien, the first person to have an alien burst out of his chest in the series. He later parodied the role in the Mel Brooks comedy Spaceballs. He previously worked with Brooks in History of the World Part 1. Hurt appeared in 1984 as a man living in a world with a totalitarian government, and a totalitarian leader in V for Vendetta.
In more recent years, he played wandmaker Garrick Ollivander in three of the Harry Potter films and co-starred as The War Doctor in the 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who. He was also seen in Hellboy and Snowpiercer. Hurt was also known for his voiceover work. He voiced Aragorn in the 1978 animated version of The Lord of the Rings, Hazel the Rabbit in Watership Down, and The Great Dragon on the TV series Merlin. He was also frequently a film narrator, his beautiful speaking voice guiding the stories of Dogville, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, and The Tigger Movie.
At the time of his death, Hurt has four upcoming movies pending. That Good Night, Damascus Cover, My Name is Lenny, and Darkness Hour.
R.I.P. John Hurt — January 22, 1940 – January 27, 2017