John Hurt was an English actor whose career spanned six decades. Let’s see some amazing facts and trivia about him!
1.His full name was John Vincen Hurt.
2. He was born on January 22, 1940.
3. He initially came to prominence for his supporting role as Richard Rich in the film A Man for All Seasons (1966).
4. After this, he played leading roles as John Merrick in David Lynch’s biopic The Elephant Man (1980), Winston Smith in a version of Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984), Mr. Braddock in the Stephen Frears drama The Hit (1984), and Stephen Ward in the drama depicting the Profumo affair, Scandal (1989).
5. He is also known for his television roles such as Quentin Crisp in the television film The Naked Civil Servant (1975), Caligula in I, Claudius (1976), and the War Doctor in Doctor Who.
6. John Hurt’s other films include the prison drama Midnight Express (1978), the science-fiction horror film Alien (1979), the adventure film Rob Roy (1995), the political thriller V for Vendetta (2006), the sci-fi adventure film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), the Harry Potter film series (2001–11), the Hellboy films (2004 and 2008), and the Cold War espionage film Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011).
7. His character’s final scene in Alien has been named by a number of publications as one of the most memorable in cinematic history.
8. Recognized for his distinctive rich voice, he also enjoyed a successful voice acting career in films such as Watership Down (1978), the animated The Lord of the Rings (1978), The Black Cauldron (1985) and Dogville (2003), as well as the BBC television series Merlin.
9. One of Hurt’s last films is the biopic Jackie (2016), alongside Natalie Portman, about Jackie Onassis.
10. He will next be in the 2017 film Darkest Hour, as British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, due to be released in November.
11. Among his honours, he received two Academy Award nominations, a Golden Globe Award, and four BAFTA Awards, with the fourth being a Lifetime Achievement recognition for his outstanding contribution to British cinema.
12. He was knighted in 2015 for his services to drama.
13. John Hurt was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, the son of Phyllis, an amateur actress and engineer, and Arnould Herbert Hurt a mathematician who became a Church of England clergyman and served as vicar of Shirebrook.
14. Hurt’s father was also Vicar of St John’s parish, Sunderland.
15. In 1937, he moved his family to Derbyshire, where he became Perpetual Curate of Holy Trinity Church.
16. When Hurt was five, his father became the vicar of St Stephen’s Church in Woodville, south Derbyshire, and remained there until 1952.
17. John Hurt had a strict upbringing; the family lived opposite a cinema, but he was not allowed to see films there.
18. He was also not permitted to mix with local children because his parents saw them as “too common”.
19. At the age of eight, Hurt was sent to the Anglican St Michael’s Preparatory School in Otford, Kent, where he eventually developed his passion for acting.
20. He decided he wanted to become an actor, and his first role was that of a girl in a school production of The Bluebird (L’Oiseau Bleu) by Maurice Maeterlinck.
21. He has stated that while he was a pupil at the school, he was abused by Donald Cormack (now deceased), then Senior Master of the school and later Headmaster until his retirement in 1981.
22. John Hurt said that Cormack would remove his two false front teeth and put his tongue in the boys’ mouths, and how he would rub their faces with his stubble, and that the experience affected him hugely.
23. John Hurt’s father moved to Old Clee Church in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, and Hurt (then aged 12) became a boarder at Lincoln School (then a grammar school) in Lincoln, because he had failed the entrance examination for admission to his brother’s school.
24. Hurt often went with his mother to Cleethorpes Repertory Theatre, but his parents disliked his acting ambitions and encouraged him to become an art teacher instead.
25. His headmaster, Mr Franklin, laughed when Hurt told him he wanted to be an actor, telling him that he “wouldn’t stand a chance in the profession”.
26. Aged 17, Hurt enrolled in Grimsby Art School (now the East Coast School of Art & Design), where he studied art.
27. In 1959, he won a scholarship allowing him to study for an Art Teacher’s Diploma (ATD) at Saint Martin’s School of Art in London.
28. Despite the scholarship, paying his tuition fees and living expenses was difficult, so he persuaded some of his friends to pose naked and sold the portraits.
29. In 1960, he won a scholarship to RADA, where he trained for two years.
30. Hurt’s first film was The Wild and the Willing (1962), but his first major role was as Richard Rich in A Man for All Seasons (1966).
31. He played Timothy Evans, who was hanged for murders committed by his landlord John Christie, in 10 Rillington Place (1971), earning him his first BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
32. His portrayal of Quentin Crisp in the TV play The Naked Civil Servant (1975) gave him prominence and earned him the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor.
33. The following year, Hurt won further acclaim for his bravura performance as the Roman emperor Caligula in the BBC drama serial, I, Claudius. In the 2002 documentary I Claudius: A Television Epic, Hurt revealed that he had originally declined the role when it was first offered to him, but that series director Herbert Wise had invited him to a special pre-production party, hoping Hurt would change his mind, and that he was so impressed by meeting the rest of the cast and crew that he reversed his decision and took the role
34. Hurt had an older brother, Br. Anselm (born Michael), a Roman Catholic convert who became a monk and writer at Glenstal Abbey; Hurt had contributed to his brother’s books.
35. Hurt also had an adopted sister, Monica.
36. In 1962, Hurt’s father left his parish in Cleethorpes to become headmaster of St. Michael’s College in the Central American country of British Honduras.
37. Hurt’s mother died in 1975, and his father died in 1999 at the age of 95.
38. In 1962, Hurt married actress Annette Robertson.
39. The marriage ended in 1964.
40. In 1967, he began his longest relationship, with French model Marie-Lise Volpeliere-Pierrot, sister of fashion photographer Jean-Claude Volpeliere-Pierrot.
41. The couple had planned to get married after 15 years together; however, on 26 January 1983 Hurt and Volpeliere-Pierrot went riding early in the morning near their house in Ascott-under-Wychwood, Oxfordshire.
42. Volpeliere-Pierrot was thrown off her horse and injured.
43. She went into a coma and died later that day.
44. In September 1984, Hurt married his old friend, American actress Donna Peacock, at a local Register Office.
45. The couple moved to Kenya but divorced in January 1990.
46. On 24 January 1990, Hurt married American production assistant Joan Dalton, who he had met while filming Scandal.
47. With her, he had two sons: Alexander “Sasha” John Vincent Hurt (born 6 February 1990) and Nicholas “Nick” Hurt (born 5 February 1993).
48. This marriage ended in 1996 and was followed with a seven-year relationship with Dublin-born presenter and writer Sarah Owens. The couple moved to County Wicklow, where they settled close to their friends, director John Boorman and Claddagh Records founder and Guinness heir Garech Browne.
49. In July 2002, the couple separated. In March 2005, Hurt married his fourth wife, advertising film producer Anwen Rees-Meyers.
50. He lived near Cromer, Norfolk.
51. In 2007, Hurt took part in the BBC genealogical television series Who Do You Think You Are?, which investigated part of his family history.
52. Prior to participating in the programme, Hurt had harboured a love of Ireland and was enamoured of a “deeply beguiling” family legend that suggested his great-grandmother Emma Stafford had been the illegitimate daughter of a Marquess of Sligo.
53. The genealogical evidence uncovered seemed to contradict the family legend, rendering the suggestion doubtful. The search revealed that his great-grandmother had previously lived in Grimsby, at a location within a mile of the art college at which Hurt had been a student
54. In 2012, Hurt was among the British cultural icons selected by artist Sir Peter Blake to appear in a new version of his most famous artwork – the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover – to celebrate the British cultural figures of his life that he most admires.
55. In 2014, Hurt received the Will Award, presented by the Shakespeare Theatre Company, along with Stacey Keach and Dame Diana Rigg. Opened in September 2016, The John Hurt Centre is an education and exhibition space located at Cinema City, Norwich
56. Since 2003, Hurt was a patron of the Proteus Syndrome Foundation, both in the United Kingdom and in the US. Proteus syndrome is the condition that Joseph Merrick, whom Hurt played (renamed as John Merrick) in The Elephant Man, is thought to have suffered from, although Merrick’s exact condition is still not known with certainty.
57. Since 2006, Hurt had been a patron of Project Harar, a UK-based charity working in Ethiopia for children with facial disfigurements.
58. Hurt was announced as patron of Norwich Cinema City in March 2013
59. On 16 June 2015, Hurt publicly announced that he had been diagnosed with early-stage pancreatic cancer. He confirmed that he would continue to work while undergoing treatment and said that both he and his medical team were “more than optimistic about a satisfactory outcome”
60. John Hurt died in London on 27 January 2017, 5 days after his 77th birthday