Oscar-winning actor William Hurt passes away
The star of Kiss of the Spider Woman was first announced dead by Deadline through a statement by his son Will
Academy Award-winning actor William Hurt has passed away at the age of 71.
The star of Kiss of the Spider Woman was first announced dead by Deadline through a statement by his 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.”
Hurt was born in 1950 and began his acting journey once he enrolled at the Juilliard school in 1972 following his study of theology at university. A stage actor for the most part in his early career, he turned to cinema with a major role in the Ken Russel cult horror film Altered States (1980), a role that landed him the starring part in the sensational thriller Body Heat (1981) opposite Kathleen Turner. The thriller turned the emerging actor into a bonafide star of the 80s, where he played prominent roles in the comedy drama The Big Chill (1983), the spy thriller Gorky Park (1983) before going on to star in the Hector Babenco picture Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985).
The Paul Schrader-penned film would change Hurt's life, earning him the Best Actor award at Cannes as well as at the Oscar for playing the gay cellmate of an imprisoned leftist revolutionary. In 1986, the actor would star in Children of a Lesser God opposite Marlee Matlin, the only deaf performer to win a Best Actress Oscar to date. He earned a third consecutive Academy Award nomination in 1988, for his role as a TV reporter in Broadcast News.
The 90's were a somehow calm and uneventful period in Hurt's life, mostly starring in arthouse films that mostly went under the radar.
In 2005, the actor made a powerful comeback with his role in David Cronenberg's A History of Violence, playing the chilling role of a crime boss seeking to exact revenge on Viggo Mortensen's ex-criminal. Both actors were nominated that year for Bes Supporting Actor and Best Actor respectively. In an atypical move, the prestigious actor joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe three years later by playing General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross in The Incredible Hulk, a role he would reprise in four later films, cementing him as a key character in the modern superhero mythos.
Married twice, Hurt was also in a high-profile relationship with his co-star Marlee Matlin.
A poignant and touching performer with a tendency for challenging experimentation, William Hurt's filmography is a uniquely profound insight into the variety and humanness a thespian could bring forth to cinema and to audiences worldwide.