William Hurt Dies at 71 After 40 Years on Stage and Screen

William Hurt Dies at 71  After 40 Years on Stage and Screen

Legendary Hollywood actor William Hurt has died at the age of 71. He had been suffering from prostate cancer for several years, although the announcement posted by his family attributed his death to unspecified “natural causes.” Death came just a week before Hurt’s 72nd birthday.

The actor won a Best Oscar award for Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1985 and was nominated again for Children of a Lesser God in 1986 and Broadcast News in 1987. Also in 1985, he received a Tony Award nomination for Hurlyburly on Broadway. Hurt’s first recognition, a Golden Globe nomination for New Star of the Year, came for his debut appearance in Altered States, a science-fiction thriller. Films he made in the 1980s included Body Heat, The Big Chill, and Gorky Park. In 2005, he copped an Oscar supporting-actor nomination for his role in A History of Violence.

Other films in which Hurt appeared during his 40-year career included A.I. Artificial Intelligence, The Good Shepherd, Into the Wild, Mr. Brooks, Robin Hood. Syriana, and The Village. In later years, Hurt appeared in five films for the Marvel Cinematic Universe series, in the role of General Thaddeus Ross. He also performed in The Consultant, by Marvel One-Shot, andWhat If…?, a Disney+ animated series. Hurt was also an acclaimed TV performer, earning Emmy nominations for Damages and Too Big to Fail.

In 2014, while filming Midnight Rider on a train trestle in Georgia, Hurt narrowly escaped injury during a train mishap in which a crew member was killed. He was playing Gregg Allman in the biopic. He ultimately declined to continue with the project, calling the incident “the sorrow of my professional life and one of the great sorrows of my personal life.”

Originally a theology student at Tufts University, Hurt studied acting at The Juilliard School in New York before appearing in his first film in 1980. The actor was frank in acknowledging his struggle with drug and alcohol addiction early in his career. He was married twice: to Mary Beth Hurt (1971-1982) and Heidi Henderson (1989-1991), and was involved in an affair with Marlee Matlin, whom he starred with in Children of a Lesser God. Hurt later apologized for his abusive role in that relationship. Other romantic partners of his included Sandra Jennings and Sandrine Bonnaire.

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