John Hurt


Actor

About

Also Known As
John Vincent Hurt
Birth Place
Derbyshire, England, GB
Born
January 22, 1940
Died
January 27, 2017
Cause of Death
Cancer

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 ...

Family & Companions

Annette Robertson
Wife
Actor. Divorced; shotgun marriage unraveled when the baby didn't materialize.
Marie-Lise Volpeliere-Pierrot
Companion
Model, composer. Together from c. 1970 until her death from a riding accident on January 26, 1983; often featured in VOGUE magazine.
Donna Peacock
Wife
Married on September 6, 1984; divorced in 1990; resumed relationship in October 1995; no longer together.
Jo Dalton
Wife
Married on January 24, 1990; American; announced divorce plans in May 1995; divorced; she has since remarried.

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.

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 Skull" (2008). Whether he starred in a high-profile audience pleaser or a critically acclaimed dramatic film, Hurt always brought his talents to the fore. His death on January 27, 2017 at the age of 77 was mourned by fans and peers around the globe.

John Hurt was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, on Jan. 22, 1940. The son of a rigid Anglican minister, Hurt was not allowed to see the films at his local movie house, but when he was sent away to Catholic boarding school in Kent, the sheltered lad joined a school play and quickly decided that his future was as an actor. His lackluster academic performance at a series of schools supported that career trajectory, but his parents did not. They did, however, respond to Hurt's fine art talent and allowed him to pursue a future as an art teacher. Hurt attended the Grimsby Art School before landing a scholarship to the teacher's certification program at Central St. Martin's College in London. But after several years in the creatively swinging city, Hurt scrapped the teaching idea and returned his focus to the stage, spending two years studying at the renowned Royal Academy of Dramatic Art before he was quickly embraced for his thespian skills.

Fresh out of RADA in 1962, Hurt made his professional stage debut in "Infanticide in the House of Fred Ginger" and his feature debut in "The Young and the Willing" (1962), earning raves the following year onstage in Harold Pinter's "The Dwarfs." Hurt came to Broadway in the title role of "Hamp" (1965), but it was his work in a 1966 London production of "Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuch" that convinced director Fred Zinnemann to cast him in the Judas role of Richard Rich in the Academy Award-winning film version of Robert Bolt's "A Man for All Seasons" (1966). Hurt's performance as the extremely nervous, fresh-faced Rich brought the young actor his widest exposure up until that time, and he generated interest from distinguished directors like Tony Richardson, who cast him in a small role in the romantic drama "The Sailor from Gibraltar" (1967) and the legendary John Huston, who gave him the lead as an aspiring highway robber in the comedy "Sinful Davey" (1969).

Hurt played a Lieutenant sorting through the aftermath of a World War II prison camp in J. Lee Thompson's "Before Winter Comes" (1969) before a landmark starring role in Richard Fleischer's "10 Rillington Place" (1970), in which his hysterical turn as a wrongfully accused murderer first showcased his signature panache for mental anguish. The theater lover stuck close to the stage over the next few years, appearing in revivals of Pinter's "The Caretaker" and "The Dumb Waiter," a taut one-act about a pair of hitmen killing time before their next assignment. He starred as Romeo in a Coventry production of "Romeo and Juliet" and starred in the original cast of Tom Stoppard's "Travesties," portraying renowned poet and Dadaist, Tristan Tzara. In 1975, Hurt returned to the screen and gave a historic performance as flamboyantly gay writer and raconteur Quentin Crisp in a TV movie adaptation of Crisp's memoir "The Naked Civil Servant" (1975). Hurt's electrifying portrayal brought him widespread attention and a British Academy Television Award for Best Actor. Hot on its heels, he delivered a riveting performance as the crazed, cruel Caligula in the campy and immensely enjoyable TV miniseries "I, Claudius" (BBC, 1976).

Hurt's international film breakthrough came in 1978's "Midnight Express," with his portrayal of an ill-fated heroin addict and inmate in the violent tale of an American serving time in a Turkish prison. After earning an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor and a Golden Globe win for the same movie, his film career was truly ignited. He provided voicing for two 1978 animated features "The Lord of the Rings" and "Watership Down" before landing his first major role in a U.S. production, Ridley's Scott's influential sci-fi actioner "Alien" (1979). Hurt not only earned a BAFTA nomination for his role as Kane, the executive officer of the interstellar barge, Nostromo, but he also secured a place in film history for the awe-inspiring scene in which his abdominal pains unleash the "chestburster" alien on the dining room table while the crew stands by helplessly as his body is ripped apart, blood spurting everywhere. The following year, Hurt gave an astounding performance (and endured a punishing makeup routine) as the grotesquely deformed outsider fighting for dignity and acceptance in David Lynch's "The Elephant Man" (1980). The fact-based biopic of the enduring 19th century figure was a sleeper hit on the art house circuit and wound up with a Best Picture nomination at the Academy Awards, a Best Actor nomination for Hurt, and BAFTA and Golden Globe wins for the actor in the same category.

After an unfortunate association with the legendary Western flop "Heaven's Gate" (1980), Hurt made a cameo as Jesus in Mel Brooks' "History of the World, Part I" (1981) and starred as an East German escaping Communism via hot air balloon in Disney's "Night Crossing" (1981). In an uncharacteristic comedy, he essayed a simpering gay cop in the buddy comedy outing "Partners" (1982) and a vengeful CIA agent in Sam Peckinpah's last film, "The Osterman Weekend" (1983), before opting to work primarily in British films. Perhaps Hurt's best work of the decade was his central performance as thought criminal Winston Smith in "1984" (1984), Michael Radford's admirably low-key and harrowing adaptation of the George Orwell classic. The director's images emphasized the character's tragic isolation as an increasingly unhappy rewriter of history, Hurt's haggard visage eloquently projecting the character's agony. He was also memorable as The Fool in the renowned "King Lear" (BBC 1984) production that won Laurence Olivier an Emmy, and excellent as the brooding, experienced assassin in Stephen Frears' little-seen crime drama "The Hit" (1985). After a long absence from the stage, Hurt appeared at the Lyric in Hammersmith as Trigorin in a 1985 production of "The Seagull."

In 1987, Hurt sent up his now legendary character from "Alien" in Mel Brooks' sci-fi parody "Spaceballs" and spent the remainder of the decade starring in British dramas including "Rocinante" (1987), Michael Radford's "White Mischief" and Michael Caton-Jones' fact-based political tale "Scandal" (1989), where he portrayed the physician/pimp who inadvertently helped topple a cabinet minister before committing suicide over his ultimate role as scapegoat. Hurt stayed busy as a perennial favorite among independent directors, starring in Roger Corman's surprise return to directing "Frankenstein Unbound" (1990), making a BAFTA-nominated supporting turn as a town drunk in the rural Irish drama "The Field" (1990), and donning drag for Gus Van Sant's "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues" (1994). His haggard visage made a perfect addition to Jim Jarmusch's stark frontier tale "Dead Man" (1995) before Hurt enjoyed a supporting role as the Duke of Montrose in "Rob Roy," the historic Scottish epic starring Liam Neeson. The same year Hurt returned to the London stage to star opposite Helen Mirren in Turgenev's "A Month in the Country" (1995).

In 1997, Hurt received some of his best reviews in years in "Love and Death on Long Island," playing parched and rumpled to perfection and balancing dour with droll as a discerning English author who becomes obsessed with an all-American teen movie heartthrob (Jason Priestley) and steps out of his cloistered Old World existence to pursue him on his own turf. Hurt earned a nomination from the British Independent Film Awards as well as a special notice from the Chicago International Film Festival. Hurt was much more widely seen in that year's sci-fi blockbuster hit "Contact," as a wealthy industrialist who enables a team of scientist's quest to make contact with extraterrestrial life. Hurt's next starring role as a reclusive animal lover who helps a misfit teen find his way in "All the Little Animals" (1998) debuted to good reviews at Cannes but his follow-up "Night Train" (1998), in which Hurt gave an excellent performance as an ex-con trying to make a new start, remained relatively below the radar.

In 2001, Hurt starred in an Atom Egoyan version of Samuel Beckett's autobiographical one-man drama "Krapp's Last Tape," and was simply brilliant as the sweaty old man with the spiky shock of cropped hair looking back on the wreckage of his life. The over 60 actor found his ever dramatic brilliance more in demand than ever, appearing in a steady string of big Hollywood films including the popular (if critically smeared) romantic drama "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" (2001), and the blockbuster "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" (2001), where he assumed the role of Mr. Ollivander. Hurt's portrayal of Porfiry in an adaptation of "Crime and Punishment" (2002) never made a U.S. release, but 2003's portrait of gambling addiction "Owning Mahowny," in which Hurt essayed a slick casino manager, did well on the festival and art house circuit. His highest profile role of the era was as Professor "Broom" Bruttenholm, the scientist who raises a demon infant to become earth's greatest paranormal hero in the comic book adaptation of the critically dismissed "Hellboy" (2004).

With the thriller "The Skeleton Key" (2005), Hurt's talents were ultimately wasted as a speechless invalid in a haunted and isolated Louisiana plantation, in a film that fell flat from cheap thrills and chintzy dialogue. But Hurt shone considerably stronger in his supporting role as a bounty hunter in that year's "The Proposition," a critically lauded film about the lawless 1880s Australian outback penned by rocker Nick Cave, and in his reteaming with director Michael Caton-Jones in the Rwanda-set story of a BBC journalist "Shooting Dogs" (2005). The 2006 political thriller "V for Vendetta" was an international hit that generated its share of controversy and garnered Hurt notice for his portrayal of a conservative member of Parliament. Hurt was slated to appear in no less than six films in 2008, including the highly anticipated "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," in a role that was kept secret from the press prior to the film's release. Later in the year Hurt would co-star as a professor trying to unravel a series of killings in "The Oxford Murders" (2010) and prior to that revived his role as another academic, Trevor Bruttenholm, in yet another sequel, "Hellboy 2: The Golden Army." Hurt next joined the "Harry Potter" series, playing Mr. Ollivander, a genial old man who sells magic wands in Diagon Alley in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1" (2010) and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2" (2011). Hurt next appeared in espionage drama "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" (2011) and Tarsem Singh's fantasy "Immortals" (2011). This was followed by apperances in Billy Bob Thornton's "Jayne Mansfield's Car" (2012), Jim Jarmusch's vampire romance "Only Lovers Left Alive" (2013) and Bong Joon-ho's apocalyptic thriller "Snowpiercer" (2013). The same year, he appeared in a special story arc on British institution "Doctor Who" (BBC 1963- ). After co-starring with Dwayne Johnson in "Hercules" (2014), Hurt appeared in Irish political drama "The Journey" (2016) and Pablo Larrain's impressionistic biopic "Jackie" (2016). Having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015, Hurt died on January 27, 2017 in London. He was 77 years old.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018)
Damascus Cover (2018)
My Name is Lenny (2017)
The Journey (2017)
That Good Night (2017)
Jackie (2016)
The History of Love (2016)
Snowpiercer (2014)
Hercules: The Thracian Wars (2014)
The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman (2013)
Narrator
Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
Jayne Mansfield's Car (2013)
Lou (2011)
Immortals (2011)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
Melancholia (2011)
Brighton Rock (2011)
Angel Makers (2010)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
44 Inch Chest (2010)
New York, I Love You (2009)
An Englishman In New York (2009)
The Limits of Control (2009)
The Oxford Murders (2008)
Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)
Lesson 21 (2008)
Whaledreamers (2008)
Himself
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Short Order (2008)
Recount (2008)
Outlander (2008)
Boxes (2007)
Perfume: the Story of A Murderer (2006)
The Pendant (2006)
V for Vendetta (2006)
Adam Sutler
Beyond the Gates (2005)
The Skeleton Key (2005)
Valiant (2005)
Voice
Manderlay (2005)
The Proposition (2005)
Hellboy (2004)
Dogville (2003)
Narrator
Owning Mahowny (2003)
Miranda (2002)
Christian
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
Mr. Ollivander
Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001)
The Hidden Wars of Desert Storm (2001)
Narrator
Lost Souls (2000)
The Tigger Movie (2000)
Narrator
New Blood (1999)
Alan White
A Monkey's Tale (1999)
Voice
You're Dead (1999)
Michael Maitland
All the Little Animals (1998)
Night Train (1998)
The Climb (1997)
Brute (1997)
Dr Babits
Contact (1997)
Love and Death on Long Island (1997)
Dead Man (1996)
John Scholfield
Two Nudes Bathing (1995)
Rob Roy (1995)
Saigon Baby (1995)
Jack Lee
Wild Bill (1995)
Shades of Fear (1994)
Rex Goodyear
Betrayal (1994)
Narrator
Thumbelina (1994)
Voice
Second Best (1994)
Crime and Punishment (1993)
Porfiry
Monolith (1993)
Villano
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993)
Dark at Noon (1992)
Anthony; The Marquis
Lapse of Memory (1992)
Conrad Farmer
King Ralph (1991)
I Dreamt I Woke Up (1991)
Windprints (1990)
Romeo-Juliet (1990)
Voice Of Mercutio
The Field (1990)
The Bird
Resident Alien (1990)
Himself
The Investigation: Inside a Terrorist Bombing (1990)
Romeo-Juliet (1990)
La Dame Aux Chats
Frankenstein Unbound (1990)
Dr Joseph Buchanan
Deadline (1989)
Granville Jones
Scandal (1989)
Bengali Nights (1989)
Lucien Metz
Aria (1988)
Little Sweetheart (1988)
White Mischief (1988)
Vincent - The Life and Death of Vincent Van Gogh (1987)
Voice Of Vincent Van Gogh
Spaceballs (1987)
Self
From The Hip (1987)
Spaceballs (1987)
Himself
Jake Speed (1986)
Rocinante (1986)
Bill
After Darkness (1985)
Peter Huninger
The Black Cauldron (1985)
Voice
1984 (1984)
Success Is the Best Revenge (1984)
Dino Montecurva
Observations Under the Volcano (1984)
Narrator
Sunset People (1984)
Himself
The Hit (1984)
Braddock
Champions (1983)
Bob Champion
The Osterman Weekend (1983)
Partners (1982)
The Plague Dogs (1982)
Voice
Night Crossing (1981)
Peter Strelzyk
History of the World Part I (1981)
The Elephant Man (1980)
Heaven's Gate (1980)
Alien (1979)
Kane
Watership Down (1978)
Hazel
The Shout (1978)
Midnight Express (1978)
Max
The Lord of the Rings (1978)
Spectre (1977)
Mitri Cyon
Disappearance (1977)
East of Elephant Rock (1976)
La Linea del fiume (1976)
Shadows of Doubt (1976)
The Ghoul (1975)
Tom
Do Yourself Some Good (1975)
Narration
Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs (1974)
Malcolm Scrawdyke
The Pied Piper (1972)
Franz
10 Rillington Place (1971)
Timothy [John] Evans
Cry of the Penguins (1971)
Forbush
In Search of Gregory (1970)
Daniel
Sinful Davey (1969)
Davey Haggart
Before Winter Comes (1969)
Lieutenant Pilkington
The Sailor From Gibraltar (1967)
John
A Man for All Seasons (1966)
Richard Rich
Young and Willing (1964)
Phil

Music (Feature Film)

A Monkey's Tale (1999)
Song Performer

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Resident Alien (1990)
Other
Sunset People (1984)
Other

Cast (Special)

Richard Burton: Taylor-Made For Stardom (2002)
Universe 2001: Beyond the Millennium (1999)
Narrator
Warrior Island -- Fayu (1999)
Narration
Island of the Spirits (1999)
Narrator
Black Holes: The Ultimate Abyss (1997)
Narration
True Story of the Elephant Man (1997)
Narration
The Three Ravens (1997)
The Storyteller (Host Segment)
On Jupiter (1995)
Narrator
Paul McCartney: Going Home (1991)
Narration
Backstage at Masterpiece Theatre: A 20th Anniversary Special (1991)
The Winged Messenger (1989)
Narration
A Story Short (1988)
The Luck Child (1988)
Hans My Hedgehog (1987)
Storyteller
Fearnot (1987)
King Lear (1984)
Fool

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

The Commissioner (1999)
David Macaulay: Pyramid (1988)
Voice
The Naked Civil Servant: The Autobiography of Quentin Crisp (1975)

Life Events

1953

Stage debut in a school production of "The Bluebird"

1961

Made TV debut in "Mourtzanos"

1962

Film acting debut, "The Wild and the Willing"; directed and produced by Ralph Thomas

1962

Professional stage debut in the London production, "Infanticide in the House of Fred Ginger"

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

Earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his role as a drugged-out hippie in Alan Parker's "Midnight Express"

1978

First U.S. feature, voiced Aragorn in Ralph Bakshi's animated adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkein's "The Lord of the Rings"

1979

Essayed the role of Kane, the memorable first victim of the title creature in Ridley Scott's "Alien"

1980

Acted in Michael Cimino's colossal bomb "Heaven's Gate" as the lost, embittered alcoholic Billy Irvine

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

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

Acted the part of the brooding assassin in Stephen Frears' sinister "The Hit"

1984

Played the stubbornly nonconformist Winston Smith in Michael Radford's adaptation of the novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four"

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"

1987

Re-teamed with director Mel Brooks for "Star Wars" spoof "Spaceballs"

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

Cast in the John Boorman directed "Two Nudes Bathing" segment of Showtime's "Picture Windows"

1995

Re-teamed with Caton-Jones for "Rob Roy"

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

2008

Provided the voice of the Dragon on "Merlin"

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

Appeared as an old man in "Immortals"

2011

Joined ensemble cast of thriller "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"

2011

Cast in Lars Von Trier's apocalyptic drama "Melancholia"

2012

Played Kingsley Bedford in "Jayne Mansfield's Car"

2013

Appeared as an ancient, ailing vampire in Jim Jarmusch's "Only Lovers Left Alive"

2013

Played The Doctor on several episodes of "Doctor Who"

2015

Played Tom Kendle on "The Last Panthers"

2016

Appeared in the final film of his lifetime, TV movie "The Pity of War: The Loves and Lives of the War Poets"

Photo Collections

Alien - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from Fox's Alien (1979), directed by Ridley Scott. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.

Videos

Movie Clip

Midnight Express (1978) - Choose Your Own Death American Jimmy (Randy Quaid), compatriot Billy Hayes (Brad Davis) and Brit Max (John Hurt) considering prospects of breaking out of their Turkish prison, in Midnight Express, 1978, directed by Alan Parker.
Elephant Man, The (1980) - Then Have My Lips A scene which almost certainly never happened, though it might have, London actress Madge Kendal (Anne Bancroft), who did in fact take an interest in John Merrick (John Hurt, title character), pays a friendly visit, with Shakespeare, in David Lynch's The Elephant Man, 1980.
Elephant Man, The (1980) - I Am The Owner Having failed in his first attempt to see the freak-show exhibit, doctor Treves (Anthony Hopkins) returns to the corner of 1884 London where Bytes (Freddie Jones) keeps his meal ticket, John (really Joseph) Merrick (John Hurt), in David Lynch's celebrated The Elephant Man, 1980.
Man For All Seasons, A (1966) - Remember My Office! Newly appointed Chancellor Thomas More (Paul Scofield) suffers impertinence from suitor Roper (Corin Redgrave), daughter Margaret (Susannah York) and knave Rich (John Hurt) in A Man For All Seasons, 1966, from Robert Bolt's play.
Watership Down (1978) - The Man Thing Killed It Episodes with the band of rabbits who have fled the warren because of the premonitions of Fiver (voice by Richard Briers), John Hurt as leader Hazel, Michael Graham Cox as Bigwig, Simon Cadell as bigwig, from the animated adaptation of the celebrated novel, Watership Down, 1978.
Watership Down (1978) - Something Oppressive Introduction of the two rabbit brothers, John Hurt the voice of Hazel, and Richard Briers the more anxious Fiver, who senses something bad coming, in director Martin Rosen’s animated feature, based on the Richard Adams novel, Watership Down, 1978.
10 Rillington Place - Not A Bad District No idea what they're getting into, young Timothy (John Hurt) and Beryl (Judy Geeson) inquire with Reg (Richard Attenborough) and Ethel (Pat Heywood) Christie about the flat upstairs, in Richard Fleischer's 10 Rillington Place, 1971.
10 Rillington Place - Another One On The Way Christie (Richard Attenborough) waylays tenant Tim (John Hurt) about some bills, who then clashes with indignant spouse Beryl (Judy Geeson), who has news of her own, in Richard Fleischer's 10 Rillington Place, 1971.
Elephant Man, The (1980) - Would You Like To Meet Him? Doctor Treves (Anthony Hopkins) has just secreted his patient Merrick (John Hurt, title character) away in his London hospital, delivering his food when he's waylaid by his boss Gomm (John Gielgud), leaving the nurse (Lesley Dunlop) at risk, in David Lynch's The Elephant Man, 1980.
Elephant Man, The (1980) - Pray To God He's An Idiot Treves (Anthony Hopkins), having gained the cooperation of John Merrick (John Hurt, title character), shows his find to a society of fellow doctors in 1884 London, later conferring with Fox (John Standing), in David Lynch's The Elephant Man, 1980.
Elephant Man, The (1980) - The Face Of An Angel In his first proper social engagement, Merrick (John Hurt, title character) is introduced by doctor Treves (Anthony Hopkins) to his wife (Hannah Gordon), in 1880's London, in David Lynch's The Elephant Man, 1980, based partly on (Sir Frederick) Treves' book.
In Search Of Gregory - How Do You Find Me? Arriving at her father's house in Geneva, heiress Catherine (Julie Christie) finds not the elusive Gregory, but her somewhat unstable brother Daniel (John Hurt), his first scene, from In Search Of Gregory, 1970.

Trailer

Family

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

Companions

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

Bibliography

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.