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Hurt, John Vincent, Sir, CBE

Sir John Hurt, CBE
was born on: 
Mon, 22/01/1940
Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England
and died on: 
Fri, 27/01/2017
London, England

Indefatigable. Resting now.


John Hurt never won an Oscar, perhaps because he was always one of the least recognisable actors: barely noticed in real life, on stage he was able to change his physical appearance from role to role. He had a similar ability with his voice, although he did have one, the deep, rolling, tones, that was used more often than others.

Hurt was a true actor, becoming the character he was playing while performing, but not immersing himself in it to the exclusion of real life when he was "off duty."

His roles are many (143 feature films) and varied (The Elephant Man, A Man for All Seasons, 10 Rillington Place, Alien, the Harry Potter series. There were big budgets and low budget films, leading rolls and supporting actors. There were a surprising number of voiceovers for animated films. Then there was the TV including the voice of the Dragon in the UK series Merlin. He also played, in two special episodes, the iconic Doctor Who.

Hurt never stopped working: when he died he was coming to the end of filming of a biographical film about Winston Churchill in which he played Neville Chamberlain. The film Jackie (about Kennedy-Onasis) earned his co-star Natalie Portman a best actress Oscar nomination in the week he died, still unrecognised by the US industry for which he did so much.

He did, however, win a BAFTA and was knighted in 2015.

And yes, it was Hurt from who's chest the monster climbed in that scene from Alien.

In 2001, someone made a four minute film showing most of his films, in chronological order. It's a remarkable history. You can see it on youtube, here

Editorial Staff