We’ve lost another wonderful actor. Sir John Hurt has passed away. John Hurt may not be an instantly recognizable name to casual film fans, but everyone who has seen a fair number of movies has seen his work. He was Mr. Ollivander in the Harry Potter series. He was The Storyteller in Jim Henson’s wonderful and too-short-lived eponymous series. He was nominated twice for Academy Awards in 1977 for Midnight Express, and for what is probably his most indelible performance, that of the title character in 1980’s The Elephant Man. He was also the unfortunate victim in one of the most famous scenes in film history: the “chest burster” dinner scene in Ridley Scott’s Alien. He brought gravitas and dignity to every project he participated in, and I always was instantly more interested in a film when his name appeared in the credits. Below is a wonderful obituary of Sir John written by Liz Miller from IndieWire. Hurt was 77.
Sir John Hurt, one of the elder statesmen of great British actors, has passed away. He was 77.
Hurt’s first major breakout film role was as Richard Rich in “A Man for All Seasons” in 1966, and was a captivating on-screen presence in a rich array of roles. He won a Golden Globe for his supporting work in 1978’s “Midnight Express,” playing a prisoner addicted to heroin, and starred as David Lynch’s iconic “Elephant Man” (nominated for an Oscar and winning a BAFTA for his work in the 1980 black-and-white drama).
He was also beloved by genre fans for his unforgettable work in 1978’s “Alien,” which led to a cameo parodying the most famous scene of Ridley Scott’s sci-fi horror film for Mel Brooks in “Spaceballls”
In addition, he played supporting roles in the “Harry Potter” films, “Hellboy,” “Snowpiercer” and many many more. Notably, he was cast as the War Doctor in the “Doctor Who” 50th anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor,” as well as other “Who” projects.
Hurt received his knighthood in 2015, shortly after announcing that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer — it is unknown at this time if his death was connected with that struggle. He leaves behind a filmography rich with iconic roles, brave choices and beautiful work.