Oscar winning actor William Hurt dies, aged 71

Mar 14, 2022
Hurt made his acting debut in 1980, which he later received a Golden Globe nomination for New Start of the Year. Source: Getty

William Hurt, the acclaimed actor best known for his roles in movies such as Kiss of the Spider Woman and Body Heat, has died at the age of 71. 

Deadline reported an announcement by Hurt’s son Will: “It is with great sadness that the Hurt family mourns the passing of William Hurt, beloved father, and Oscar-winning actor, on March 13, 2022, one week before his 72nd birthday. He died peacefully, among family, of natural causes.”

News of his death was later confirmed to Variety by Hurt’s friend, Gerry Byrne. 

Fellow actor Albert Brooks, who co-starred alongside Hurt in Broadcast Newstweeted Sunday, March 13, “R.I.P. William Hurt. So sad to hear this news. Working with him on Broadcast News was amazing. He will be greatly missed.”

Fan and fellow actors have taken to social media to express their grief over the loss of the talented actor. 

A three-time nominee for Best Actor at the Academy Awards, Hurt won an Oscar in the category for his role in the 1985’s Kiss of the Spider Woman. He first appeared on the big screen in the 1980 sci-fi horror film Altered States , a role that earned him a Golden Globe nomination.

Hurt quickly became one of Eighties cinema’s most versatile leading men, bouncing between neo-noirs such as Body Heat and Eyewitness as well as featuring in romantic comedies Broadcast News and drama Children of a Lesser God.

“He can play any kind of part he wants,” producer Alan Ladd Jr. said of Hurt for the actor’s 1981 Rolling Stone cover story. “He’s a great character actor, but let’s face it, he’s a leading man.”

Younger audiences, however, are more likely to recognise Hurt for his recurring role as General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; first portraying the character back in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk before appearing in four more Marvel films: Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War and, most recently, 2021’s Black Widow.

Hurt’s career was not without controversy, however. In her 2009 memoir, Hurt’s former co-star and ex-girlfriend wrote about the emotional and physical abuse she faced from her then-boyfriend Hurt. 

In a statement at the time, Hurt, through a spokesperson, said: “My own recollection is that we both apologised and both did a great deal to heal our lives. Of course, I did and do apologise for any pain I caused. And I know we have both grown. I wish Marlee and her family nothing but good.”

Hurt was married to the actress Mary Beth Hurt from 1971 to 1982 and was married to Heidi Henderson from 1989 to 1991.

Hurt is survived by his four children Jeanne Bonnaire-Hurt, Alexander Devon Hurt, Samuel Hurt, and William Hurt. 

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