British acting behemoth Sir John Hurt, 77, has died after a battle with pancreatic cancer, according to the BBC. Hurt was diagnosed in 2015, but continued working in movies. He currently has four films slated for release this year.
Hurt, who was knighted in 2015, was in everything. Oscar nominated for Midnight Express in 1978 and The Elephant Man in 1980, the actor’s 55-year movie career began in 1962 with The Wild and the Willing. His first major role was in A Man for All Seasons and he subsequently appeared in 10 Rillington Place, Alien, Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Field, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (and two others in the franchise), Hellboy, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Snowpiercer, and Jackie among dozens of others. Hurt was also one of the first major stars to lend his voice to animated films. His famous, gravelly English accent can be heard in movies like Watership Down, The Lord of the Rings (1978), and The Black Cauldron.
While millennials might know Hurt best from his Potter appearances, the actor lives in film history for enduring the stomach-bursting scene in Alien and playing the representative of the dystopian proletariat in the Orwell adaptation, 1984.
Hurt was also known for dying in many of his films, something the star had a sense of humor about. “I think I’ve got the record,” he once said. “It got to a point where my children wouldn’t ask me if I died, but rather how do you die?” There’s even a video compilation on his YouTube channel.
Hurt was the type of actor who didn’t get top-billing, but whose presence brought immediate credibility to a movie. In our interview for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in 2011, co-star Gary Oldman called Hurt “a wonderful guy and a great raconteur.” We shall never see his like again.
Screen Legend John Hurt Dies at 77