John Hurt was an English actor. Among other honours, he had received a Golden Globe Award and four BAFTA Awards, with two and six nominations respectively, as well as two Academy Award nominations.
Hurt was known for his leading roles as Joseph Merrick (billed as John Merrick) in The Elephant Man, Winston Smith in Nineteen Eighty-Four, Mr. Braddock in The Hit, Stephen Ward in Scandal, and Quentin Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant and An Englishman in New York. Recognizable for his distinctive rich voice, he had also enjoyed a successful voice acting career, starring in films such as Watership Down, The Lord of the Rings and Dogville, as well as BBC television series Merlin and Doctor Who.
Alien franchise credit
- The Wild and the Willing (1962) - Phil
- This Is My Street (1963) - Charlie
- A Man for All Seasons (1966) - Richard Rich
- The Sailor from Gibraltar (1967) - John
- In Search of Gregory (1969) - Daniel
- Sinful Davey (1969) - Davey Haggart
- Before Winter Comes (1969) - Lieutenant Pilkington
- Mr. Forbush and the Penguins (1971) - Richard Forbush
- 10 Rillington Place (1971) - Timothy John Evans
- The Pied Piper (1972) - Franz
- Little Malcolm (1974) - Malcolm Scrawdyke
- The Ghoul (1975) - Tom Rawlings
- La Linea del fiume (1975) - Chandler
- East of Elephant Rock (1977) - Nash
- Three Dangerous Ladies (1977) - Lt. Simmonds
- The Disappearance (1977) - Atkinson
- Watership Down (1978) - Hazel
- The Shout (1978) - Anthony Fielding
- Midnight Express (1978) - Max
- The Lord of the Rings (1978) - Aragorn
- Alien (1979) - Kane
- The Elephant Man (1980) - John Merrick
- Heaven's Gate (1980) - Billy Irvine
- Night Crossing (1981) - Peter Strelzyk
- History of the World, Part I (1981) - Jesus Christ
- Partners (1982) - Kerwin
- The Plague Dogs (1982) - Snitter
- The Osterman Weekend (1983) - Lawrence Fassett
- Champions (1984) - Bob Champion
- Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984) - Winston Smith
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) - Mr. Ollivander
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010) - Mr. Ollivander
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011) - Mr. Ollivander
John Hurt was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, when his father was vicar of Shirebrook. He is the son of Phyllis (née Massey), an amateur actress and engineer, and Arnould Herbert Hurt, a mathematician who became an Anglican clergyman. Hurt has an older brother, Br. Anselm (born Michael), a Roman Catholic convert, who became a monk and writer at Glenstal Abbey, to whose books his younger brother John has contributed.
Hurt also has an adopted sister, Monica. His father was a vicar at St John in Sunderland, but in 1937 he moved his family to Derbyshire, where he became Perpetual Curate of Holy Trinity church. When John was five, his father became the vicar of St Stephens Church at Woodville, South Derbyshire and remained there until 1952. In 1945, John's father founded 1st Woodville (St Stephens) Scout Group which is still going strong today.
Hurt had a strict upbringing: the family lived opposite a cinema but he was not allowed to visit. He was also not permitted to mix with local children because in his parents' view they were "too common". Hurt's mother died in 1975, and his father died in 1999 at the age of 95.
Hurt's first film was The Wild and the Willing, but his first major role was as Richard Rich in A Man for All Seasons. Hurt has since appeared in such popular motion pictures as: Alien, Midnight Express, Rob Roy, V for Vendetta, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the first, penultimate, and last Harry Potter films, the Hellboy film series, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Hurt is one of England's best-known, most prolific and sought-after actors, and has had a versatile film career spanning six decades. He is also known for his many Shakespearean roles. His character's final scene in Alien is consistently named as one of the most memorable in cinematic history.
John Hurt died at his home in Cromer, Norfolk, on January 25, 2017 at the age of 77 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Hurt had publicly announced his diagnosis two years prior, though he stated a few months later that his cancer was in remission following the treatment.