John Hurt

John Hurt

Infobox Actor
name = John Hurt

imagesize = 200px
caption = John Hurt, 2007
birthname = John Vincent Hurt
birthdate = birth date and age|1940|1|22|df=yes
birthplace = Shirebrook, England
spouse = Annette Robertson (1962–1964)
Donna Peacock (1984–1990)
Jo Dalton (1990–1996)
Ann Rees Meyers (2005-)
baftaawards = awd|Best TV Actor|1975|The Naked Civil Servant awd|Best Actor in a Supporting Role|1978|Midnight Express awd|Best Actor in a Leading Role|1980|The Elephant Man
goldenglobeawards = awd|Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture|1979|Midnight Express
awards = awd|ESBF Award for Best Actor|1984|Nineteen Eighty-Four

John Vincent Hurt, CBE (born 22 January 1940) is an English actor. Hurt initially came to prominence for his role as Richard Rich in the 1966 film "A Man for All Seasons", and has since retained a career as a lead and supporting actor of many popular motion pictures, including: "Midnight Express", "Alien", "The Elephant Man", "Nineteen Eighty-Four", "Rob Roy", "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)", "Spaceballs", "V for Vendetta", "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" and the "Hellboy" film series. Hurt is one of England's best-known, most prolific and sought-after actors, and has had a versatile film career spanning over 40 years. [ [ John Hurt - Biography ] ] He is also highly respected for his many Shakespearean roles. [ John Hurt Biography (1940-) ] ] Hurt has received multiple awards and honours throughout his career including three BAFTA Awards and a Golden Globe, as well as two Academy Award nominations. His character's demise in "Alien" is generally regarded as one of the most chilling and unforgettable deaths in cinematic history. [ [ The death of Kane (John Hurt) in Alien - Movie Deaths Database ] ]


Personal life

Hurt was born in Shirebrook, Derbyshire, 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, Michael, a monk based in Ireland, and 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 in South Derbyshire and remained there until 1952. In 1945 the Reverend Mr. Hurt founded 1st Woodville (St Stephens) Scout Group which is still going strong to day.

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'.Fact|"A Taste of My Life", with Nigel Slater|date=March 2008 At the age of eight he was sent to the Anglo-Catholic St Michaels prep school in Sevenoaks, Kent, where he eventually developed his passion for acting. He decided he wanted to become an actor, and his first role was that of a girl in a school production "The Bluebird" (L'Oiseau Bleu) by Maurice Maeterlinck.

His father moved to St Aidan Church in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, and Hurt (then aged 12) became a boarder at Christ's Hospital School (then a grammar school) in Lincoln, because he had failed the entrance exam for admission to his brother's school. Hurt often accompanied his mother to Cleethorpes Repertory Theatre, but his parents disliked his acting ambitions and encouraged him to become an art teacher instead. His headmaster, Mr. Franklin, laughed when Hurt told him he wanted to be an actor, saying "you wouldn't stand a chance in the profession."Fact|date=March 2008 At the age of 17, Hurt enrolled in Grimsby Art School (now the East Coast School of Art & Design), where he studied art.

In 1959 Hurt won a scholarship allowing him to study for an Art Teachers Diploma (ATD) at Central St. Martins College in Holborn, London. Despite the scholarship, paying for his studies was financially difficult and so he persuaded some of his friends to pose nude and sold the portraits. In 1960 however he won a scholarship to RADA where he trained for two years. He was then cast in small roles on TV.

In 1962 Arnould Hurt left his parish in Cleethorpes to become headmaster of St Michaels College in the Latin American country of Belize. In that same year Hurt first performed on the London stage and married the actress Annette Robertson. The marriage ended in 1964. At the time Hurt was performing with the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 1967 he began his longest relationship with the French model Marie-Lise Volpeliere-Pierrot, the sister of fashion photographer Jean-Claude Volpeliere-Pierrot, whose son Ben would later become a teen idol singing in the pop band Curiosity Killed the Cat.Hurt's relationship with Marie-Lise was intense and went further beyond a casual affair. The couple had planned to get married after fifteen years, when things evolved tragically on 26 January 1983: Hurt and his lady went horseback riding early in the morning near their house in Ascott-under-Wychwood, Oxfordshire, when suddenly Volpeliere-Pierrot lost her stirrup and was thrown off the horse, landing her head in the middle of the lane. She went into a coma and died later that day.

Hurt married for the second time on 6 September 1984 to Texan actress and old friend Donna Peacock at a local Registrar's office. The couple moved to Kenya and tried unsuccessfully to have children through IVF. They divorced in early January 1990.Soon afterwards (on 24 January 1990) Hurt married American production assistant Jo Dalton whom he had met while filming "Scandal". With her he had two sons: Alexander John Vincent (born 6 February 1990) and Nicholas Dalton (born 5 February 1993). This marriage ended in 1996. At one point Hurt was involved with Sarah Owen, twenty years his junior, and with whom he lived in County Wicklow, Ireland. In March 2005, Hurt married his fourth wife, advertising film producer Ann Rees Meyers.

Hurt's mother died in 1975,and his father died in 1999 at the age of 95.

In January 2002, John Hurt received an honorary degree from the University of Derby and in January 2006 received the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of Hull.

In 2007, Hurt took part in the genealogical television series "Who Do You Think You Are?," which investigated part of his family history. Prior to participating in the programme, Hurt had harboured a love of Ireland and was enamoured of a 'deeply beguiling' family legend that suggested his great-grandmother had been the illegitimate daughter of Irish nobleman the Marquess of Sligo. However the genealogical evidence uncovered seemed to contradict the family legend, rendering the 'suggestion' doubtful. [ [ Who Do You Think You Are? BBC Magazine - About the series ] ]


Hurt's first film was 1962's "The Wild and the Willing", but his first major role was as Richard Rich in 1966's "A Man for All Seasons". However, it was his portrayal of Quentin Crisp in the 1975 TV play, "The Naked Civil Servant", that shot him to fame and earned him the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor. The following year, Hurt played the Roman emperor Caligula in the BBC drama serial, "I, Claudius". In 1978, he appeared in "Midnight Express", for which he won a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (the last of which he lost to Christopher Walken). He subsequently developed a successful film career, with his best known roles including Kane, the memorable first victim of the title creature in the film "Alien" (a role which he reprised as a parody in "Spaceballs"); would-be art school radical Scrawdyke in "Little Malcolm"; and "John" Merrick in the Joseph Merrick biography "The Elephant Man", for which he won a BAFTA and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor. He also had a starring role in Sam Peckinpah's critically panned but hugely successful final film, "The Osterman Weekend" (1983). Also in 1983 he starred as the Fool opposite Laurence Olivier's King in "King Lear". Hurt also appeared as Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment in the BBC series of that name in 1980.

Hurt has also taken roles in famous political allegories, first playing the hero in an early production and then the tyrannical villain in a later work. For instance, he played Winston Smith in the 1984 adaptation of the novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four" and then assumed the role of a Big Brother-esque leader of a fascist Great Britain in the 2006 film "V for Vendetta", a movie that drew many parallels to the world of Orwell's 1984. Similarly, Hurt played Hazel, the heroic rabbit leader of his warren in the film adaptation of "Watership Down" and later played the major villain, General Woundwort, in the animated television series.

In 1986, Hurt provided the voiceover for , a public information film warning of the dangers of AIDS. He had a memorable supporting role as "Bird" O'Donnell in Jim Sheridan's 1990 film "The Field", which garnered him another BAFTA nomination. In 2001, he played Mr. Ollivander, the wand-maker, in the first Harry Potter film Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. He hasn't returned for any other of the Harry Potter films. In 1999, Hurt provided narration on the British musical group Art of Noise's concept album "The Seduction of Claude Debussy". He was made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in June 2004. In May 2008, he appeared in Steven Spielberg's "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" as Harold Oxley. [cite news | title = IESB First Look: Indy IV Looks Back at the Original Trilogy | publisher = IESB | format = Video | date = 2008-05-01 | url = | accessdate=2008-05-01]

In 2008, 33 years after The Naked Civil Servant, Hurt will reprise the role of Quentin Crisp in "An Englishman in New York". The new film will depict Crisp's latter years in New York. [ [ BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Actor Hurt to reprise Crisp role ] ]

Hurt has stated an interest in returning to his role as Ollivander, the wand-maker, in the last two Harry Potter films.


*"A Man for All Seasons" (1966)
*"In Search of Gregory" (1969)
*"Sinful Davey" (1969)
*"10 Rillington Place" (1971)
*"Mr. Forbush and the Penguins" (1971)
*"Little Malcolm (and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs)" (1974)
*"The Ghoul" (1975)
*"The Naked Civil Servant" (1975) (TV)
*"East of Elephant Rock" (1976)
*"Spectre" (1976)
*"I, Claudius" (1976) (miniseries)
*"The Sweeney" (1976) (Episode - "Tomorrow Man")
*"The Shout" (1978)
*"Watership Down" (1978)
*"Midnight Express" (1978) (nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor)
*"The Lord of the Rings" (1978) (voice)
*"Alien" (1979) (nominated for the BAFTA for best supporting actor)
*"The Elephant Man" (1980) (nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor, won BAFTA for best actor)
*"Heaven's Gate" (1980)
*"" (1981)
*"Night Crossing" (1981)
*"The Plague Dogs" (1982) (voice)
*"Partners" (1982)
*"The Osterman Weekend" (1983)
*"King Lear" (1984) (TV)
*"The Hit" (1984)
*"Nineteen Eighty-Four" (1984)
*"Champions" (1984)
*"The Black Cauldron" (1985) (voice)
*"After Darkness" (1985)
*"Aria" (1986)
*"From the Hip" (1987)
*"White Mischief" (1987)
*"Spaceballs" (1987)
*"The Jim Henson Hour" (The Storyteller) (1989) (TV series)
*"Scandal" (1989)
*"Frankenstein Unbound" (1990)
*"The Field" (1990)
*"King Ralph" (1991)
*"Six Characters in Search of an Author" (1992) (TV)
*"Lapse of Memory" (1992)
*"Even Cowgirls Get the Blues" (1993)
*"Thumbelina" (1994)
*"Second Best" (1994)
*"Rob Roy" (1995)
*"Dead Man" (1995)
*"Wild Bill" (1995)
*"Love and Death on Long Island" (1997)
*"Contact" (1997)
* "Bastard (Bandyta)" (1997)
*"All the Little Animals" (1998)
*"The Climb" (1998)
*"The Tigger Movie" (2000) (voice)
*"Krapp's Last Tape" (2000)
*"Captain Corelli's Mandolin" (2001)
*"Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" (2001)
*"Crime and Punishment" (2002)
*"Owning Mahowny" (2003)
*"Dogville" (2003) (voice)
*"The Alan Clark Diaries" (2004)
*"Hellboy" (2004)
*"Pride" (2004) (TV) (voice)
*"Valiant" (2005) (voice)
*"Manderlay" (2005) (voice)
*"The Proposition" (2005)
*"Short Order" (2005)
*"The Skeleton Key" (2005)
*"Shooting Dogs" (2005)
*"V for Vendetta" (2006)
*"" (2006) (voice)
*"" (2007) (voice)
*"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" (2008)
*"Recount" (2008) (TV)
*"" (2008)
*"The Oxford Murders" (2008)
*"Lecture 21" (2008)
*"Outlander" (2008)
*"Merlin" (2008) (TV) (voice)
*"44 Inch Chest" (2009)
*"The Limits of Control" (2009)
*"New York, I Love You" (2009)
*"An Englishman in New York" (2009)


External links

*imdb name|id=0000457|name=John Hurt
* [ Actor's Compendium]
* [ Biography on BBC site]
* [ Receiving his honorary degree from Hull University in January 2006]
* [,,1728162,00.html March 2006 Observer article]

NAME= Hurt, John
DATE OF BIRTH= 1940-1-22
PLACE OF BIRTH= Chesterfield, England

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