William Hurt, an Oscar winner for Kiss of the Spider Woman, died today, a week before his 72nd birthday. Hurt was known for playing a quiet intellectual in his early acting roles before moving on to more strident parts in science fiction and Marvel films.
Will Hurt, William Hurt’s son, announced his father’s death on Facebook today. Hurt was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer that had spread to his bones in May 2018.
“It is with great sadness that the Hurt family mourns the departure of William Hurt, loving father and Oscar winner, one week before his 72nd birthday, on March 13, 2022,” his son wrote. “He passed away gently, surrounded by his family, from natural causes. At this time, the family begs privacy.”
Hurt had three Best Actor Academy Award nominations in the mid-1980s for Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985), Children of a Lesser God (1986), and Broadcast News, for which he also won Best Actor at the BAFTAs and the Cannes Film Festival (1987). For A History of Violence, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
In 2011, he was nominated for an Emmy for Too Big to Fail, and in 2009, he was nominated for Damages.
During the 1980s, Hurt worked as a stage actor, appearing in Off-Broadway shows and garnering his first Tony Award nomination in 1985 for the Broadway production of Hurlyburly.
In 1980, he made his cinematic debut as a scientist in the science fiction thriller Altered States, for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best New Star of the Year. Following that, he starred in Lawrence Kasdan’s Body Heat as a lawyer who is seduced by Kathleen Turner (1981). Hurt was cast as part of the ensemble in Kasdan’s 1983 film The Big Chill. Following that, he played Arkady Renko in Gorky Park.
Hurt frequently collaborated with top-tier filmmakers. Ken Russell, Peter Yates, Kasdan, Michael Apted, and Héctor Babenco directed his first five films. He went on to work on projects with James L. Brooks, Woody Allen, Gregory Nava, Wim Wenders, Anthony Minghella, Wayne Wang, Nora Ephron, Franco Zeffirelli, Carl Franklin, István Szabó, David Cronenberg, Steven Spielberg, M. Night Shyamalan, Ridley Scott, Anthony and Joe Russo, and many others, including The Accidental Tourist and I Love You to Death.
A.I. Artificial Intelligence, The Village, Syriana, The Good Shepherd, Mr. Brooks, Into the Wild, and Robin Hood were among his later features.
Hurt was involved in one of the worst on-set accidents in recent memory in 2014. When a train ploughed into the set on a bridge in rural Georgia, killing camera assistant Sarah Jones and wounding several others, he was playing as Gregg Allman in filmmaker Randall Miller’s biography, Midnight Rider. Hurt was on the trestle but managed to get away unscathed.
The actor later stated that he was concerned that cast and crew people, who were loaded with equipment, would be safe on the bridge if a train came, and that he was told by AD Hillary Schwartz that they would be.
Hurt later stated of the accident, “It’s the greatest tragedy of my professional life and one of the worst regrets of my personal life.” “It was simply unthinkable that something like that could happen.” Another option would have been to remark, “This isn’t good enough for me; I’m leaving the set.” But it was our first day with a group that had previously worked together.”
Director-producer Miller sought to resume production shortly after the accident, but Hurt refused to return to the project.
In Jones’ death, Miller, Jay Sedrish, and Schwartz were all found guilty of criminal trespassing and involuntary manslaughter. Probation was given to Sedrish and Schwartz. Miller was sentenced to two years in prison and eight years on probation.
Hurt was a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films as the blustering Thaddeus Ross, a General who was present on the fateful day Bruce Banner became the Hulk, according to younger fans. The Incredible Hulk, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and Black Widow, as well as the Marvel One-Shot The Consultant and the Disney+ animated series What If…? both voiced by Mike McGill, included the Ross character.
William Hurt’s personal life
Hurt was born in Washington on March 20, 1950. His father worked for the United States Agency for International Development, and the family moved to Lahore, Mogadishu, and Khartoum as a result of his work. His mother married Henry Luce III, the son of publisher Henry Luce, after his parents split.
He continued his education at Tufts University, where he majored in theology. But the acting bug grabbed him, and he enrolled in the theatre division of the Juilliard School, where he spent four years rubbing shoulders with future stars like Robin Williams and Christopher Reeve.
Hurt joined the Circle Repertory Company in 1977 and won an Obie Award for his performance in Corinne Jacker’s My Life. He had a long and illustrious career in theatre, winning a Theatre World Award in 1978 for his roles in Fifth of July, Ulysses in Traction, and Lulu.
Hurt leaves behind four children. No information about the memorial service has been released.