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Also Known As: John Vincent Hurt Died:
Born: January 22, 1940 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Derbyshire, England, GB Profession: actor, painter

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

One of Britain's most esteemed and prolific actors, John Hurt fashioned an international career as a consummate screen chameleon, living his parts to the fullest without revealing the man behind the mask. He emerged from the London drama stage to film stardom in the late 1970s with a pair of powerhouse performances in "Midnight Express" (1978) and "Alien" (1979) - roles that established Hurt's strength for playing mental and physical suffering. In addition to his other renowned characters of torment - most famously, "The Elephant Man" (1980) - Hurt's palette grew to include the oppressed Winston Smith in "1984" (1984) and numerous baleful deadbeats, such as in "Night Train" (1998). He also displayed a penchant for playing morally compromised nobleman, as portrayed in "Rob Roy" (1995) and "V for Vendetta" (2006). As he aged, Hurt added an increasing number of academics and authors to his résumé, including roles in "Love and Death on Long Island" (1997) and "Hellboy" (2004). Despite the character actor's naturalistic portraits, there was no denying Hurt also had an eye for the commercial as well, co-starring in "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" (2008) and "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal...

One of Britain's most esteemed and prolific actors, John Hurt fashioned an international career as a consummate screen chameleon, living his parts to the fullest without revealing the man behind the mask. He emerged from the London drama stage to film stardom in the late 1970s with a pair of powerhouse performances in "Midnight Express" (1978) and "Alien" (1979) - roles that established Hurt's strength for playing mental and physical suffering. In addition to his other renowned characters of torment - most famously, "The Elephant Man" (1980) - Hurt's palette grew to include the oppressed Winston Smith in "1984" (1984) and numerous baleful deadbeats, such as in "Night Train" (1998). He also displayed a penchant for playing morally compromised nobleman, as portrayed in "Rob Roy" (1995) and "V for Vendetta" (2006). As he aged, Hurt added an increasing number of academics and authors to his résumé, including roles in "Love and Death on Long Island" (1997) and "Hellboy" (2004). Despite the character actor's naturalistic portraits, there was no denying Hurt also had an eye for the commercial as well, co-starring in "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" (2008) and "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Scull" (2008). Whether he starred in a high-profile audience pleaser or a critically acclaimed dramatic film, Hurt always brought his talents to the fore.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Snowpiercer (2014)
5.
7.
 Brighton Rock (2011)
8.
 Melancholia (2011)
9.
 Immortals (2011)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Worked as a stage hand with Lincoln Repertory
1953:
Stage debut in a school production of "The Bluebird"
1961:
Made TV debut in "Mourtzanos"
1962:
Professional stage debut in the London production, "Infanticide in the House of Fred Ginger"
1962:
Film acting debut, "The Wild and the Willing"; directed and produced by Ralph Thomas
1963:
Won the Variety Club Award as Most Promising Newcomer for his stage performance in "The Dwarfs"; first collaboration with playwright Harold Pinter
1966:
Portrayed Richard Rich in the film version of "A Man for All Seasons"
1969:
Played the title role of a 19th-century Scottish highwayman in John Huston's uninspired "Sinful Davey"
1970:
Portrayed the inarticulate Timothy Evans in "10 Rillington Place"
1972:
Performed in Harold Pinter's London stage revival of "The Caretaker"
1973:
Essayed the role of Ben in Pinter's London revival of "The Dumb Waiter"
1974:
Portrayed Tristran Tzara in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of Tom Stoppard's "Travesties"
1975:
Shot to fame as Quentin Crisp in the TV play, "The Naked Civil Servant"
1976:
First non-British film, the Italian-made "La Linea del Fiume/Stream Line"
1976:
Offered a brilliant turn as Roman emperor Caligula in the BBC adaptation of "I, Claudius"
1977:
First U.S. TV-movie, "Spectre" (NBC)
1978:
First U.S. feature, voiced Aragorn in Ralph Bakshi's animated adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkein's "The Lord of the Rings"
1978:
Earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his role as a drugged-out hippie in Alan Parker's "Midnight Express"
1979:
Essayed the role of Kane, the memorable first victim of the title creature in Ridley Scott's "Alien"
1980:
Portrayed the title character in David Lynch's adaption of the Joseph Merrick biography "The Elephant Man"; garnered a Best Actor Academy Award nomination
1980:
Acted in Michael Cimino's colossal bomb "Heaven's Gate" as the lost, embittered alcoholic Billy Irvine
1981:
Played Jesus in Mel Brooks' "History of the World, Part I"
1982:
Starred as the Fool opposite Laurence Olivier's King in BBC production of "King Lear"
1983:
Appeared in Sam Peckinpah's critically panned but hugely successful final film "The Osterman Weekend"
1984:
Played the stubbornly nonconformist Winston Smith in Michael Radford's adaptation of the novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four"
1984:
Acted the part of the brooding assassin in Stephen Frears' sinister "The Hit"
1987:
Re-teamed with director Mel Brooks for the disappointing "Star Wars" spoof "Spaceballs"
1987:
Provided the voice of the artist for the documentary "Vincent ¿ The Life and Death of Vincent Van Gogh"
1987:
Played the title role of the narrator on the NBC children's fantasy series "The Storyteller"
1989:
Offered an excellent turn as Dr. Stephen Ward, a sexual provocateur in Michael Caton-Jones' directorial debut "Scandal"
1989:
Portrayed the Storyteller on NBC variety anthology summer series "The Jim Henson Hour"
1990:
Appeared as himself in the documentary feature "Resident Alien: Quentin Crisp in New York"
1995:
Re-teamed with Caton-Jones for "Rob Roy"
1995:
Cast in the John Boorman directed "Two Nudes Bathing" segment of Showtime's "Picture Windows"
1995:
Starred with Helen Mirren in an award-winning West End production of Turgenev's "A Month in the Country"
1997:
Earned acclaim for his performance in Richard Kwietniowski's feature directorial debut, "Love and Death on Long Island"
1997:
Narrated The Discovery Channel's "True Story of the Elephant Man"
1998:
Starred opposite Christian Bale in Jeremy Thomas' directorial debut "All the Little Animals"
2000:
Played a priest in Janusz Kiminski's feature directorial debut "Lost Souls"
2000:
Acted in a film version of "Krapp's Last Tape"
2001:
Played Mr. Ollivander, the wand-maker in the first Harry Potter film "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"
2003:
Re-teamed with director Richard Kwietniowski for "Owning Mahowny"
2004:
Cast as Professor Bruttenholm in the feature adaption of the popular comic book series "Hellboy"
2004:
Reprised role of Mr. Ollivander for "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban"
2005:
Starred opposite Kate Hudson in the supernatural thriller "Skeleton Key"
2006:
Cast as the villainous Bishop Lilliman in the Wachowski brothers' "V for Vendetta"
2008:
Appeared in Steven Spielberg's "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" as Harold Oxley
2010:
Reprised role of Mr. Ollivander for the seventh and final installment of the series directed by David Yates, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows"; film released in two parts, "Part 1" in November 2010 and "Part 2" in July 2011
2011:
Cast in Lars Von Trier's apocalyptic drama "Melancholia"
2011:
Appeared as an old man in "Immortals"
2011:
Joined ensemble cast of thriller "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Lincoln Christ's Hospital School: -
Grimsby Art School: -
Central St. Martins College: - 1959
Royal Academy of Dramatic Art: London , England - 1960 - 1962

Notes

"The reason I like independents is a very simple one, the smaller the project, the more adventurous the content." --John Hurt to Newsday, March 1, 1998.

About his frequently playing gay characters, despite being heterosexual: "I don't know whether it has to do with what I give off. I've never had a problem with people's sexuality and maybe that comes across. It seems to me that you're very lucky to be in love and very lucky to be loved, no matter who it is. Also, being brought up in an all male boarding school with mutual masturbation, it never occurred to me there was anything particularly wrong with it." --Hurt to Jim Farber in the Daily News, March 8, 1998.

On the script for "The Naked Civil Servant": "It was an absolutely stunning piece of writing; it screamed off the page. It was a very risky piece for an actor--a television play about an effeminate homosexual who is also an exhibitionist. many people told me it would be the end of my career--well how often do you have to hear that?" --Hurt quoted in the London Times, January 9, 2000.

"I told Mr. Hurt it was difficult for actors to play victims, but he has specialised in victims. When he stopped playing me, he played Caligula, which was only me in a sheet. Then he played The Elephant Man, which was only me with a paper bag over his head." --Quentin Crisp quote reprinted in The Guardian, January 3, 2000.

On why he returned to stage acting with "Krapp's Last Tape": "I love film and I always have and I don't regret having spent most of my time doing it. But film roles become rarer and rarer the older you get. Most of the interesting and exciting parts are between the ages of 25 and 45. It's not the same in theater. And the chance to be eloquent on film is far less than it used to be. If you make something work on stage, it is still my belief that it will work. If you make something work on film, it may not get past the marketing boys." --Hurt quoted in London's Evening Standard, January 26, 2000.

"If I've been anything I've been adventurous. There have been times when things haven't been going that great. And I don't know anybody who has a career that goes swimmingly from beginning to end. Everyone says, 'Yes, but you're established now, you can choose what you want to do.' But there's a hell of a lot of other people very well proven who can also choose what they want to do. And there are many fewer roles. The biggest mistake is trying to make yourself younger. You should allow yourself to be the age you are and enjoy exploring that area." --Hurt to London's Evening Standard, April 26, 2001.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Annette Robertson. Actor. Divorced; shotgun marriage unraveled when the baby didn't materialize.
companion:
Marie-Lise Volpeliere-Pierrot. Model, composer. Together from c. 1970 until her death from a riding accident on January 26, 1983; often featured in VOGUE magazine.
wife:
Donna Peacock. Married on September 6, 1984; divorced in 1990; resumed relationship in October 1995; no longer together.
wife:
Jo Dalton. Married on January 24, 1990; American; announced divorce plans in May 1995; divorced; she has since remarried.
companion:
Sara Owens. Rock music publicist. Born c. 1960; living together in County Wicklow (Ireland) as of January 2000.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Arnould Herbert Hurt. Former mathematician, Anglican minister. Died in November 1999 at age 95.
mother:
Phyllis Hurt. Engineer. Amateur actress; died in 1975.
brother:
Michael Hurt. Monk. Older; attended Cambridge; renounced his vows and was twice briefly married; returned to monastery near Limerick, Ireland.
sister:
Monica Hurt. Adopted.
son:
Alexander John Vincent Hurt. Born on February 6, 1990 in London; mother, Jo Dalton.
son:
Nicholas Hurt. Born c. 1992; mother, Jo Dalton.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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