John Hurt

Biography

Date of Birth 22 January 1940, Shirebrook, Derbyshire, England, UK Birth Name John Vincent Hurt Height 5' 9" (1.75 m) Britain's superbly eccentric import John Hurt is a perfect example of how huge, wondrous gifts can come in small, unadorned packages. His magnetic, often bedeviled portraits have touched the souls of filmgoers internationally for over four decades, and there seems to be no end to the depth of this man's talent. Stretching the boundaries every which way but loose, he continues to be a definitive textbook in in the art of acting metamorphosis. This transatlantic talent was born John Vincent Hurt on January 22, 1940 in Chesterfield, England, a coal mining village, to a parish vicar and a one-time actress. The youngest of three children, he spent much of his childhood in solitude. Demonstrating little initiative, he was guided into art as a possible direction. The family moved to Grimsby when he turned twelve and, despite an active early passion in acting, his parents thought less of it and enrolled him at the Grimsby Art School and St. Martin's School of Art where he showed some flourish. When he couldn't manage to get another scholarship to art school, his focus invariably turned to acting. Accepted into the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he remained for two years and made his stage debut in 1962 in typically offbeat form with "Infanticide in the House of Fred Ginger". An odd, somber, pasty-looking fellow with an aquiline nose (injured while playing sports) and a mass of Irish freckles, he was hardly leading man material. His focus as a painter, however, triggered a keen sill in the art of observation and certainly advanced his talent for getting into the skin of his characters. His movie debut occurred that same year with a supporting role in the ill-received British "angry young man" drama The Wild and the Willing (1962). Transitioning between stage, TV and film for the rest of the decade he increased his respect with such plays as "Inadmissible Evidence" (1965), "Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs" (1966), a role he later took to film as Little Malcolm (1974), "Macbeth" (as Malcolm) (1967) and "Man and Superman" (1969), as well as prime parts in such films as A Man for All Seasons (1966), a role he was given after director Fred Zinnemann saw his stellar work in "Little Malcolm." He continued on the stage as an unlikely Romeo in 1973, and went on to garner great applause in Pinter's "The Caretaker" and "The Dumb Waiter", and in "Travesties" (1974). It was TV, however, that displayed the full magnitude and fearless range of his acting instrument. In the mid-70s he gained widespread acclaim for his embodiment of the tormented gay writer and raconteur Quentin Crisp in the landmark TV play The Naked Civil Servant (1975) (TV), adapted from Crisp's autobiography. Way, way ahead of its time, Hurt's bold and unabashed take on the flamboyant and controversial gent who dared to be different was rewarded with the Emmy and British TV Awards. Far and away one of the most marvelous creations ever captured on the small screen, he was altogether unsettling, unappetizing and unforgettable. Audiences cringed but were mesmerized at the same time -- like a car wreck. He WAS Quentin Crisp. Doors immediately opened for the best parts film and TV had to offer. Once again he was strikingly disturbing as the cruel and crazed Roman emperor Caligula in the epic TV masterpiece "I, Claudius" (1976). The chameleon in him then displayed a polar side as the gentle, pathetically disfigured The Elephant Man (1980), and when he morphed into the role of a tortured Turkish prison inmate who befriends Brad Davis in the intense drama Midnight Express (1978), he was barely recognizable. The last two films earned Hurt his Oscar nominations. Handed mainstream box-office films as a result, he made the most of his role as a crew member whose body becomes host to an unearthly predator in Alien (1979). Who can forget the film's most notorious scene as the creature explodes from Hurt's stomach and scurries away into the bowels of the spaceship? Along with fame, of course, came a few misguided ventures generally unworthy of his talent. Such brilliant work as his steeple chase jockey in Champions (1984) or kidnapper in The Hit (1984) was occasionally offset by such drivel as the comedy misfire Partners (1982/I) with 'Ryan O'Neal (I)' in which Hurt looked enervated and embarrassed. But those were few and far between. As for the past couple of decades, the craggy-faced actor continues to draw extraordinary notices. Tops on the list includes his prurient governmental gadfly who triggers the Christine Keeler political sex scandal in the aptly-titled Scandal (1989); the cultivated gay writer aroused and obsessed with struggling "pretty-boy" actor Jason Priestley in Love and Death on Long Island (1997); and the Catholic priest embroiled in the Rwanda atrocities in Shooting Dogs (2005). His rich tones have also been tapped into frequently with a number of animated features and documentaries, often serving as narrator. Presently married to his fourth wife, genius is often accompanied by a darker, more self-destructive side and Hurt was no exception with alcohol being his choice of poison. He has since recovered. He has two children from his third wife.

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Birth Name

John Vincent Hurt

Birth Place

Chesterfield

Birth Date

1/22/1940

Death Date

1/25/2017
Known For
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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Control

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1984

Winston Smith

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The Elephant Man

John Merrick

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Watership Down

Hazel (voice)

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Outlander

Hrothgar

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The Oxford Murders

Arthur Seldom

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Captain Corelli's Mandolin

Dr. Iannis

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King Ralph

Lord Percival Graves

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The Lord of the Rings

Aragorn (voice)

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The Hit

Braddock

Starring In
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Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts

Self (archive footage)

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Damascus Cover

Miki

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That Good Night

Ralph

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My Name Is Lenny

Leslie Salmon

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ChickLit

Francis Bonar

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Jackie

The Priest

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The Journey

Harry Patterson

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Thomas & Friends: Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure

Sailor John (UK & US) (voice)

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Hercules

Lord Cotys

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Only Lovers Left Alive

Marlowe

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Snowpiercer

Gilliam

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Charlie Countryman

Narrator (voice)

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Muse of Fire

Himself

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Jayne Mansfield's Car

Kingsley Bedford

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Labyrinth

Audric Baillard (2 episodes, 2012)

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Planet Dinosaur: Ultimate Killers

Himself - Narrator (voice)

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Immortals

Old Man

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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Control

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Melancholia

Dexter

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Ollivander

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The Gruffalo's Child

Owl (voice)

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Ollivander

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Lou

Doyle

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Brighton Rock

Phil Corkery

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Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie

Carnak

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44 Inch Chest

Old Man Peanut

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The Limits of Control

Guitar

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The Gruffalo

Owl (voice)

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An Englishman in New York

Quentin Crisp

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Lezione 21

Mondrian Kilroy

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Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Professor Broom

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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Professor Oxley

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Outlander

Hrothgar

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The Oxford Murders

Arthur Seldom

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Recount

Warren Christopher

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Hellboy Animated: Blood & Iron

Professor Trevor 'Broom' Bruttenholm (voice)

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whaledreamers

Guest

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Paul McCartney - The McCartney Years

Himself (archive footage)

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Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Narrator (voice)

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Inside the Actors Studio: Al Pacino

Himself (uncredited)

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Manderlay

Narrator (voice)

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The Proposition

Jellon Lamb

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The Skeleton Key

Ben Devereaux

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V for Vendetta

Adam Sutler

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Valiant

Felix (voice)

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BBC History of World War II: Hiroshima

Self - Narrator (voice)

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Beyond the Gates

Father Christopher

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Sulle tracce del Terzo Uomo

Narrator (voice)

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Hellboy

Trevor "Broom" Bruttenholm

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Pride

Harry (voice)

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Owning Mahowny

Victor Foss

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Dogville

Narrator (voice)

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Miranda

Christian

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The Alien Saga

Narrator (voice)

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Schuld & Sühne - Du sollst nicht töten

Porfiry - Chief Investigator

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Mr. Ollivander

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Captain Corelli's Mandolin

Dr. Iannis

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Lost Souls

Father Lareaux

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The Tigger Movie

Narrator (voice)

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A Monkey's Tale

Sebastian (voice)

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You're Dead...

Maitland

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Watership Down: Escape To Watership Down

General Woundwort (7 episodes, 1999-2000)

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New Blood

Alan White

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Love and Death on Long Island

Giles De'Ath

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The Commissioner

James Morton

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One Last Score

Sean Cooper

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Tender Loving Care

Dr. Turner

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All the Little Animals

Mr. Summers

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Contact

S.R. Hadden

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Bandyta

Babits

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Wild Bill

Charley Prince

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Dead Man

John Scholfield

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Rob Roy

Montrose

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Second Best

Uncle Turpin

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Thumbelina

Mr. Mole (voice)

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Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

The Countess

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Felidae

Pascal / Preterius (voice)

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The War Zone: Echi de Guerra

Villano

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King Ralph

Lord Percival Graves

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Tabloid

Vince

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Frankenstein Unbound

Dr. Joe Buchanan / Narrator

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The Field

Bird' O'Donnell

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Scandal

Stephen Ward

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White Mischief

Gilbert Colvile

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Spaceballs

John Hurt

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From the Hip

Douglas Benoit

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Aria

The Actor (segment "I pagliacci")

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Jake Speed

Sid

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The Black Cauldron

The Horned King (voice)

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1984

Winston Smith

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The Hit

Braddock

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Champions

Bob Champion

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King Lear

The Fool

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The Osterman Weekend

Lawrence Fassett

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The Plague Dogs

Snitter (voice)

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Partners

Kerwin

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Night Crossing

Peter Strelzyk

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History of the World: Part I

Jesus

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Heaven's Gate

William C. Irvine

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The Elephant Man

John Merrick

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Alien

Kane

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The Lord of the Rings

Aragorn (voice)

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Watership Down

Hazel (voice)

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Midnight Express

Max

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The Shout

Anthony / husband

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Spectre

Mitri Cyon

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The Disappearance

Atkinson

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The Ghoul

Tom Rawlings

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The Naked Civil Servant

Quentin Crisp

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Cry of the Penguins

Richard Forbush

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The Pied Piper

Franz

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10 Rillington Place

Timothy Evans

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La Horca Puede Esperar

Davey Haggart

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Before Winter Comes

Lieutenant Pilkington

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The Sailor from Gibraltar

John

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A Man for All Seasons

Rich

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