William Hurt death: Oscar-winning actor dies aged 71

‘Kiss of the Spider Woman’ star died of natural causes

Ellie Harrison
Sunday 13 March 2022 20:59 GMT
William Hurt wins Best Actor at 1986 Oscars
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Oscar-winning actor William Hurt has died, aged 71.

The actor’s son, Will, announced the news, posting on social media: “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. The family requests privacy at this time.”

In May 2018, it emerged that Hurt had terminal prostate cancer that had spread to the bone.

Hurt was best known for his Oscar-winning performance as gay prisoner Luis Molina in 1985’s Kiss of the Spider Woman, and his Oscar-nominated work in the hit 1987 comedy Broadcast News, intense 2005 drama A History of Violence and 1986 romance Children of a Lesser God.

The Washington-born actor’s 45-year career began with a lead role as an unravelling scientist in the film Altered States, which he secured after studying at Juilliard. Soon afterwards, parts in Body Heat and Gorky Park followed.

Hurt also portrayed General Thaddeus Ross in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, before reprising his role in the Marvel movies Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame and Black Widow.

Raul Julia and William Hurt in ‘Kiss of The Spider Woman’
Raul Julia and William Hurt in ‘Kiss of The Spider Woman’ (Moviestore/Shutterstock)

Alongside his roles in cinema, Hurt has also appeared in numerous TV shows. He received award nominations for his role in Damages in 2009 and was also in the casts of Goliath and Condor.

Hurt starred in many plays during the 1980s, and most notably received his first Tony Award nomination in 1985 for the Broadway production of Hurlyburly.

His last performance was in the film The King’s Daughter alongside Pierce Brosnan, and he had numerous projects that were due to go into production soon: the TV series Pantheon and films The Fence, Men of Granite and Edward Enderby.

Hurt was accused of physical and verbal abuse by his ex-partner Sandra Jennings in 1989 and of the same by Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin, his girlfriend in the mid-1980s, in her 2010 memoir I’ll Scream Later.

The actor replied to Matlin with a statement at the time, saying: “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 both have grown.”

Hurt is survived by four children.

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