2016 will long be known as the year of famous celebrity deaths through January 2017 has just taken one of the most talented actors who has ever graced the big screen. John Hurt has left this world far too soon after a battle with cancer that took this amazing actor at 77 years old. His career took off as many amazing British actors did on the stage when in 1962 he started acting in theater. Theatrically it all began the same year as an “angry young man” in a very poorly received drama titled ‘Young and Willing.’
Throughout the 70’s his star was on the ride gaining him various Oscar nominations for roles such as the 1978 release of ‘Midnight Express’ followed by the 1980 release of ‘The Elephant Man.’
However, it was 1979 that brought him first into the genre work that we all loved him for as he had the minor role in ‘Alien‘ of Kane which lead to the birth of one of the Xenomorphs. He aged like a fine wine after that, constantly landing better and more memorable roles.
It’s hard to say what everyone’s favorite would be. From voice work alone he played Aragorn in the 1978 release of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and The Dragon in ‘Merlin’ which was a fun change of pace. More recently as a father, I caught him voicing the Owl in both ‘The Gruffalo’ and ‘The Gruffalo’s Child’ which my older son loved.
In live action, though he has a huge body of genre work that we can’t help but enjoy.
From playing Hellboy‘s “father” Professor Trevor Broom Bruttenholm to Professor Oxley in ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ‘ he was great at holding down a prestigious role. Of course, that was even more obvious when he played The Doctor in 2013 for a small little production titled ‘Doctor Who‘ which a couple of you might have heard of. Ollivander from the Harry Potter franchise is another notable standout and more recently he played Gilliam in the critically praised ‘Snowpiercer.’
Though in today’s climate it wouldn’t surprise me if many of you instantly went to first his take on Winston Smith in ‘1984‘ and then the polar opposite when he portrays Adam Sutler in ‘V for Vendetta.’ All of this is just the majority of his genre work as well with a slew of dramas beyond that.
No matter where you enjoyed his work from, Hurt brought a gravitas to the screen that not many actors can so consistently pull off. Fans across the world will miss his presence.
John Hurt is survived by his wife of 12 years, Anwen Rees-Myers.
R.I.P. John Hurt