Oscar-winning actor William Hurt has passed away. He was 71.
Hurt died on Sunday morning at his home in Portland, Oregon. “It is with great sadness that the Hurt family mourns the passing of William Hurt, beloved father and Oscar-winning actor, on March 13th, 2022, one week before his 72nd birthday. He died peacefully, among family, of natural causes,” read the statement released by Hurt’s family.
Back in May 2018, it was announced that Hurt had terminal prostate cancer that had already metastasized to the bones. His son, Alexander Hurt, said the cause of the actor’s death was complications of prostate cancer.
William Hurt’s early acting career
Born on March 20th, 1950, in Washington, D.C., Hurt attended the Middlesex School, where he was vice president of the Dramatics Club and had the lead role in several school plays. Hurt then attended Tufts University and studied theology, before moving to Juilliard to study acting.
Hurt made his movie debut as an obsessed psychopathologist in Ken Russell’s 1980 sci-fi body horror film, Altered States. A year later, Hurt made his breakthrough when he portrayed the boy toy of a manipulative rich woman in Lawrence Kasdan’s 1981 neo-noir erotic movie, Body Heat. Hurt then stood out as an emotionally damaged Vietnam War veteran in 1983’s The Big Chill, which Kasdan directed as well.
William Hurt’s Oscar win and nominations
Fast-forward to 1986, Hurt won Best Actor in a Leading Role at Oscars for his performance as a jailed transvestite window dresser in Hector Babencos’ 1985 drama film Kiss of the Spider Woman.
Hurt was also nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role at Oscars in 1987 and 1988. In 1987, he got an Oscar nod for his role as a teacher at a school for the hard of hearing in Randa Haines’ Children of a Lesser God. In 1987, he received an Oscar nom for his performance as the dim and hunky anchorman Tom Grunick in James L. Brooks’ Broadcast News.
Only Hurt, Paul Muni, Spencer Tracy, Gregory Peck, Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, and Russell Crowe have been nominated for the best actor Oscar in three consecutive years.
Almost two decades later, Hurt was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role at Oscars for his role as small-town diner owner Viggo Mortensen in David Cronenberg’s 2005 action thriller film, A History of Violence.
William Hurt’s MCU appearances
Younger generations may know Hurt as Thaddeus Ross in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He made his debut appearance as Ross in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, and reprised his role in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, and 2021’s Black Widow.
William Hurt’s family
Hurt’s mother, Claire Isabel, was an employee at Time Inc., and his father Alfred Hurt was a career bureaucrat, working for the United States Agency for International Development and the State Department. His parents split when he was 6 years old, with his mother later remarrying Henry Luce III, the son of Time Magazine publisher Henry Luce.
Hurt, meanwhile, was married to actress Mary Beth Hurt from 1971 to 1982 and was married to Heidi Henderson from 1989 to 1991. Hurt had four children: one with Sandra Jennings, two with Henderson, and one with French actress, film director, and screenwriter Sandrine Bonnaire.