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John Hurt, star of Alien and Elephant Man, has died at the age of 77

John Hurt, star of Alien and Elephant Man, has died at the age of 77


The prolific actor career spanned over five decades

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John Hurt On The Red Carpet - The 8th Rome Film Festival
Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Prolific actor John Hurt, who starred in hundreds of films, television shows and plays over the course of his long career, has died at the age of 77 in London according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In a statement, his wife said that “he touched all our lives with joy and magic and it will be a strange world without him."

Hurt’s career spanned over half a century. Born in Derbyshire, England, he began acting in primary school. While he initially studied and taught art, he later attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and landed his first role in 1962’s The Wilde and the Willing. In the following years, he rose to prominence in films and television shows such as 10 Rillington Place, The Naked Servant, Midnight Express and The Elephant Man. More recently, he received acclaim for his work in television shows such as 2009’s An Englishman in New York, and films such as 2011’s Tinker, Tailer, Soldier, Spy. In 2015, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

Hurt was particularly well known for his roles in science fiction films, most notably as the ill-fated crew member Kane in Ridley Scott’s 1979 film Alien. He went on to appear in the 1984 adaptation of George Orwell’s novel 1984 and The Black Cauldron. In later years, he appeared as Mr. Ollivander in four installments of the Harry Potter franchise, as well as in V for Vendetta, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Hellboy, Snowpiercer, and numerous others. In 2013, he took part in the 50th anniversary celebration of the British science fiction show Doctor Who, portraying a new incarnation of The Doctor known as The War Doctor.

Over the course of his expansive career, Hurt was known for the wide range of characters and roles that he starred in. In 2015, he announced that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He is survived by his wife, Anwen Rees-Myers, and two sons.