January 18, 2019

Sir John Hurt: Bafta-winning actor dies aged 77

tomalSir John Hurt’s wife, Anwen, has led tributes to the veteran actor after he died at the age of 77.
The Bafta-winning star, known for his roles in Alien and The Elephant Man, had been treated for pancreatic cancer in 2015.
Sir John’s wife said he had brought “joy and magic” and it would be a “strange world without him”.
He recently starred as Father Richard McSorley in Jackie, the biopic of President John F Kennedy’s wife.
Despite being given the all-clear from cancer, he last year pulled out of Sir Kenneth Branagh’s production of The Entertainer on the advice of his doctors.
Lady Hurt confirmed Sir John had died on Wednesday at his home in Norfolk.
“John was the most sublime of actors and the most gentlemanly of gentlemen with the greatest of hearts and the most generosity of spirit,” she said in a statement.
“He touched all our lives with joy and magic and it will be a strange world without him.”
US director Mel Brooks described Sir John as “cinematic immortality”, as tributes poured in for the star.
Brooks paid tribute to Sir John, who had starred in his comedy Spaceballs, saying on Twitter: “No one could have played The Elephant Man more memorably.”
He added: “He carried that film into cinematic immortality. He will be sorely missed.”
Sir John also played the part of wand-maker Mr Ollivander in the Harry Potter films.
Author of the books, JK Rowling, tweeted: “So very sad to hear that the immensely talented and deeply beloved John Hurt has died. My thoughts are with his family and friends.”
John Hurt was an unusual actor, instantly recognisable, yet never typecast. He seemed to take every part he was offered and make a success of them all.
Other star actors enjoy a decade or two in the sun before their reputation fades. John Hurt continued entertaining new audiences to the end. It made compiling his television obituary difficult: what on earth to leave out, when it was all so good?
He was the deranged Caligula in I, Claudius and those two brave but ostracised outsiders, the gay Quentin Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant and the hideously disfigured John Merrick in The Elephant Man. To a younger generation he was the War Doctor in Doctor Who and the wand-maker Mr Ollivander in Harry Potter.
He was blessed with a distinctive voice, gravelly and honeyed, and a characterful face, which as the years passed grew increasingly lined and craggy – the legacy of his years as a hell-raiser.
He was good at complex characters – at once confident and vulnerable, or arrogant yet sympathetic.
And he lived life to the full: four times married, he lived at various times in Oxfordshire, Ireland, Kenya and Norfolk and (having briefly been to art school in his youth) took up painting again towards the end of his life though it’s hard to know how he found the time.
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Director Guillermo del Toro tweeted: “John Hurt was nothing if not movingly human. Loyal, loving and incredibly intelligent and kind. He was family.”
Stephen Fry praised Sir John for being “great on the stage, small screen and big”.

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