Hollywood Legend John Hurt, Oscar-Nominated Star of ‘The Elephant Man’, Dies at 77 After Battle With Cancer

Sir John Hurt, the two-time Oscar nominated star of the Elephant Man, has died, aged 77 after battling with cancer
Sir John Hurt, the two-time Oscar nominated star of the Elephant Man, has died, aged 77 after battling with cancer

Sir John Hurt, the two-time Oscar nominated star of the Elephant Man, has died aged 77 after battling cancer.

The four-time married, Derbyshire-born star has been an enigmatic and much-beloved presence on the screen for more than six decades.

The Harry Potter actor had recently battled pancreatic cancer but in October 2015 was given the all clear.

The Derbyshire-born star has been an enigmatic and much-beloved presence on the screen for more than six decades. He is survived by his wife of 12 years Anwen Rees-Myers (pictured together at Wimbledon last year)
The Derbyshire-born star has been an enigmatic and much-beloved presence on the screen for more than six decades. He is survived by his wife of 12 years Anwen Rees-Myers (pictured together at Wimbledon last year)
In July 2015 he received a knighthood (pictured left), and said he wished his parents had been alive to see him presented with the honour
In July 2015 he received a knighthood (pictured left), and said he wished his parents had been alive to see him presented with the honour
In July 2015 he received a knighthood (pictured left), and said he wished his parents had been alive to see him presented with the honour
In July 2015 he received a knighthood (pictured left), and said he wished his parents had been alive to see him presented with the honour

At the time he said: ‘I am overjoyed, I am thrilled. It all looks great for the future, it’s fantastic.’

Despite the all-clear Sir John continued to endure periods of ill health. He suffered intestinal complaints and last July he was forced to pull out of a West End production of The Entertainer on medical advice.

Speaking to the Radio Times he was matter-of-fact about his mortality. ‘I can’t say I worry about mortality, but it’s impossible to get to my age and not have a little contemplation of it,’ he said.

In July 2015 he received a knighthood, and said he wished his parents had been alive to see him presented with the honour.

He added: ‘It does make one inordinately proud.’

Hurt is survived by his wife of 12 years Anwen Rees-Myers.

He is survived by his wife Anwen Rees-Myers. The couple had been married for 12 years
He is survived by his wife Anwen Rees-Myers. The couple had been married for 12 years
Hurt had recently starred in Oscar nominated biopic of President John F. Kennedy's widow, Jackie, which is currently showing in cinemas
Hurt had recently starred in Oscar nominated biopic of President John F. Kennedy’s widow, Jackie, which is currently showing in cinemas
Hurt had recently starred in Oscar nominated biopic of President John F. Kennedy's widow, Jackie, which is currently showing in cinemas
Hurt had recently starred in Oscar nominated biopic of President John F. Kennedy’s widow, Jackie, which is currently showing in cinemas

The son of a clergyman, Hurt rose to fame in A Man For All Seasons in 1966 and then stared in Hollywood blockbusters such as Alien, the adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984 and found a new generation of fans in the Harry Potter franchise.

The double Oscar nominee also had prominent TV roles in Doctor Who, the Naked Civil Servant and The Gruffalo.

Hurt recently starred in the Oscar-nominated biopic of President John F. Kennedy’s widow, Jackie, which is currently showing in cinemas.

Sir John Hurt was a multi-award winning actor in an illustrious six-decade career
Sir John Hurt was a multi-award winning actor in an illustrious six-decade career

SIR JOHN HURT’S GOLDEN CAREER
Sir John Hurt was a multi-award winning actor in an illustrious six-decade career.

He won a Golden Globe and four BAFTA Awards and was also nominated for two Oscars.

The Academy Awards nominations were for Best Actor in a Leading Role in The Elephant Man in 1981 and Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in Midnight Express in 1979.

He won a Golden Globe in the same category for Midnight Express, where he played the character Max.

His acting talents in The Elephant Man, where he plays Londoner John Merrick, saw him nominated for a Golden Globe in the US in the Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama category.

At the BAFTAs, he won Best Actor in 1976 and 1981 for The Naked Civil Servant and The Elephant Man.

He also earned Best Supporting Actor for Midnight Express in 1979 and Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema in 2012.

Hurt was nominated for Best Actor in 2010 for An Englishman in New York and Best Supporting Actor in 10 Rillington Place in 1972 and Alien in 1979.

In his early years he was notorious for his wild lifestyle and once describe his career as not bad ‘for an old drunk’.

After cutting down on his drinking, Hurt poured his energies into his acting work.

In 2012 the British Academy of Film and Television Arts honoured him with a lifetime achievement award.

The actor’s official website and Facebook and Twitter accounts have been closed down.

One of his most famous roles was as Joseph Merrick in the Elephant Man
One of his most famous roles was as Joseph Merrick in the Elephant Man
Hurt's turn as John Merrick in The Elephant Man saw him nominated for the biggest prize in Hollywood, an Academy Award
Hurt’s turn as John Merrick in The Elephant Man saw him nominated for the biggest prize in Hollywood, an Academy Award

FROM ALIEN AND THE ELEPHANT MAN TO HARRY POTTER: JOHN HURT’S GENRE-SPANNING ROLES
Having started off his screen career in BBC police favourite Z Cars back in the sixties in a one-off role, John Hurt soon found his star rising and in 1966 he gained acclaim for his turn in A Man For All Seasons, playing Rich.

Starring alongside the likes of Orson Welles and Robert Shaw in the period piece about Thomas Moore, Hurt made waves in Hollywood.

A stream of iconic roles soon fell into the British star’s including his iconic turn in Ridley Scott’s 1979 horror classic, Alien, in which Hurt famously died on-screen as an alien ‘chestburster’ erupted from his sternum – a moment which has gone down in cinematic history.

His turn as John Merrick in The Elephant Man the following year saw him nominated for the biggest prize in Hollywood, an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

Since then the Derbyshire-born actor remained an enigmatic and much-beloved presence on the screen.

Other notable roles for the actor included the lead role in the big screen adaption of George Orwell’s 1984 opposite Richard Burton.

A stream of iconic roles soon fell into the British star’s including his iconic turn in Ridley Scott’s 1979 horror classic, Alien
A stream of iconic roles soon fell into the British star’s including his iconic turn in Ridley Scott’s 1979 horror classic, Alien

In more recent years the actor has made star turns in the likes of the blockbuster Harry Potter series, playing the wandmaker Ollivander from 2001-2011.

He also starred in the Oscar-nominated Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in 2011 alongside Gary Oldman, and even had a turn in the BBC’s revamped Doctor Who as the haunted ‘War Doctor’ in 2013.

He was still working up to his death, having been attached to World War II drama Darkest Hour, which saw him playing besieged PM Neville Chamberlain alongside Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill and Ben Mendelsohn as King George VI.

SOURCE: Daily Mail, Rachael Burford and JJ Nattrass and Anthony Joseph