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RIP: Sir John Hurt (1940-2017)

The Oscar-nominated star of The Elephant Man and Alien dies at 77.

Sir John Hurt, the two-time Oscar nominated star of The Elephant Man and Midnight Express has died. He was 77.

In 2015, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. At press time, it’s unclear if his death was connected with the ailment. (In July, he withdrew from Kenneth Branagh’s West End production of The Entertainer following an intestinal complaint.)

A veteran screen and stage actor with over 200 credits in a career that spanned more than 60 years, Hurt, with his burry voice and battered appearance, was many things to many people.

He received a Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe in 1978’s Midnight Express where he played a junkie prisoner, and a Best Actor Oscar nomination as the deformed John Merrick in 1980’s Elephant Man.

Sci-fi fans remember Hurt in 1979’s Alien where he was the first guy to encounter the titular acid-blooded monster in what’s now referred to as ‘The Chestburster’ sequence (he later parodied the scene in Mel Brooks’ Star Wars spoof, Spaceballs).

Others know him from Contact, three Harry Potter films (where he was wand-maker Mr Ollivander), Hellboy, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special, ‘The Day of the Doctor’. He was a protean and prolific actor who could do all kinds of roles, good, evil and anything in between.

Hurt’s most recent role was a priest in Jackie, the Oscar-nominated biopic of President John F Kennedy’s widow. The film opens here Feb 16. According to IMDB, he has four movies in the works, including Darkest Hour, the WWII drama where he played PM Neville Chamberlain alongside Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill.

Hurt is survived by his wife of 12 years, Anwen Rees-Myers, and sons, Alexander and Nicholas. Hurt’s former collaborators and fans have taken to social media to offer their condolences. (Photo: TPG News/Click Photos)

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