John Hurt

BirthDay:

22 Jan 1940

BirthPlace:

Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England, UK

BirthName:

John Vincent Hurt

Bio:

This transatlantic talent was born John Vincent Hurt on January 22, 1940 in Shirebrook, a coal mining village near the busy market town of Chesterfield, in Derbyshire, England. He is the son of Phyllis (Massey), an engineer and one-time actress, and Arnould Herbert Hurt, an Anglican clergyman and mathematician. The youngest of three children, he spent much of his childhood in solitude. Demonstrating little initiative, he was guided into art as a possible direction. The family moved to Grimsby when he turned twelve and, despite an active early passion in acting, his parents thought less of it and enrolled him at the Grimsby Art School and St. Martin's School of Art where he showed some flourish. When he couldn't manage to get another scholarship to art school, his focus invariably turned to acting.

Accepted into the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, John made his stage debut in 1962 and remained there in typically offbeat form such plays as "Infanticide in the House of Fred Ginger". An odd, somber, pasty-looking fellow with an aquiline nose (injured while playing sports) and a mass of Irish freckles, he was hardly leading man material. His earlier focus as a painter, however, triggered a keen skill in the art of observation and it certainly advanced his talent for getting into the skin of his characters. His movie debut occurred that same year with a supporting role in the ill-received British "angry young man" drama Young and Willing (1962).

Appearing in various mediums, John increased his profile (and respect) appearing in such theatre plays as "Inadmissible Evidence" (1965), "Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs" (1966), a role he later took to film as Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs (1974), "Macbeth" (as Malcolm) (1967) and "Man and Superman" (1969), while finding prime parts in such films as A Man for All Seasons (1966), a role he was given after director Fred Zinnemann saw his stellar work in "Little Malcolm." He continued on the stage as an unlikely Romeo in 1973, and went on to garner great applause in Pinter's "The Caretaker" and "The Dumb Waiter", as well as "Travesties" (1974).

It was TV, however, that displayed the full magnitude and fearless range of his acting instrument. In the mid-70s he gained widespread acclaim for his embodiment of the tormented gay writer and raconteur Quentin Crisp in the landmark TV play The Naked Civil Servant (1975), adapted from Crisp's autobiography. Way, way ahead of its time, Hurt's bold and unabashed take on the flamboyant and controversial gent who dared to be different was rewarded with the Emmy and the British TV Awards. Far and away one of the most marvelous creations ever captured on the small screen, he was altogether unsettling, unappetizing and unforgettable. Audiences cringed but were mesmerized at the same time -- like a car wreck. He WAS Quentin Crisp.

Doors immediately opened for John. He was handed the best parts film and TV had to offer. Once again he was strikingly disturbing as the cruel and crazed Roman emperor Caligula in the epic TV masterpiece I, Claudius (1976). The chameleon in him then displayed a polar side as the gentle, pathetically disfigured title role in The Elephant Man (1980), and when he morphed into the role of a tortured Turkish prison inmate who befriends Brad Davis in the intense drama Midnight Express (1978), he was barely recognizable. The last two films earned Hurt Oscar nominations. Mainstream box-office films were offered as well as art films. He made the most of his role as a crew member whose body becomes host to an unearthly predator in Alien (1979). Who can forget the film's most notorious scene as the creature explodes from Hurt's stomach and scurries away into the bowels of the spaceship?

Along with fame, of course, came a few misguided ventures generally unworthy of his talent. Such brilliant work as his steeple chase jockey in Champions (1984) or kidnapper in The Hit (1984) was occasionally offset by such drivel as the comedy misfire Partners (1982) with 'Ryan O'Neal (I)' in which Hurt looked enervated and embarrassed. But those were very few and far between.

As for the past couple of decades, the craggy-faced actor continues to draw extraordinary notices. Tops on the list includes his prurient governmental gadfly who triggers the Christine Keeler political sex scandal in the aptly-titled Scandal (1989); the cultivated gay writer aroused and obsessed with struggling "pretty-boy" actor Jason Priestley in Love and Death on Long Island (1997); and the Catholic priest embroiled in the Rwanda atrocities in Beyond the Gates (2005).

His rich tones have also been tapped into frequently with a number of animated features and documentaries, often serving as narrator. Presently married to his fourth wife, genius is often accompanied by a darker, more self-destructive side and Hurt was no exception with alcohol being his choice of poison. He has since recovered. He has two children from his third wife.
Filmography

Actor ( 251 credits )

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018) Don Quixote (rumored)
Darkest Hour (2017) Neville Chamberlain
My Name Is Lenny (2017) Leslie Salmon
Damascus Cover (2017) Miki
That Good Night (2017) Ralph
The Legend of Tarzan (2016)
ChickLit (2016) Francis Bonar
The History of Love (2016) Leo
The Journey (2016) Harry Patterson
Thomas & Friends: Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure (2015) Sailor John (UK & US) (voice)
The Last Panthers (2015)  Tom (1 episode)
A.K.A Nadia (2015) 347
Dolezal Backstage (2015)  Himself (1 episode, 2015)
Alien Encounters: Superior Fan Power Since 1979 (2014) Himself
Hercules (2014) Cotys
Posh People: Inside Tatler (2014)  Himself (uncredited) (1 episode, 2014)
Snowpiercer (2013) Gilliam
Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) Marlowe
Swan Lake 3D - Live from the Mariinsky Theatre (2013) The Voice of the Winter Palace (Himself) title sequence
King Lear: Scene 133 (2013) King Lear
Look Again (2013) Harry
Charlie Countryman (2013) Narrator (voice)
Benjamin Britten: Peace and Conflict (2013) Narrated by (voice)
Showreel (2013)  Brooke Matthews (archive footage) (1 episode, 2013)
Muse of Fire (2013) Himself
Sightseers (2012) Narrator - Blake's "Jerusalem" (voice) (uncredited)
Jayne Mansfield's Car (2012) Kingsley Bedford
In Love with Alma Cogan (2012) Master of Ceremonies
Labyrinth (2012)  Audric Baillard (2 episodes, 2012)
Playhouse Presents (2012)  The Ministry (1 episode, 2012)
Welcome to the Basement (2012)  Himself (archive footage) (1 episode, 2015)
The Hollow Crown (2012)  The Chorus (1 episode, 2012)
Sailcloth (2011) Man
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) Control
Immortals (2011) Old Man
Melancholia (2011) Dexter
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) Ollivander
23 Degrees, 5 Minutes (2011) Professor Orit
The Confession (2011) Priest
Regret Not Speaking (2011)
The Big Picture (2011)  Himself (3 episodes, 2011)
Planet Dinosaur (2011)  Himself - Narrator (6 episodes, 2011)
Living the Life (2011)  Himself (1 episode, 2012)
The Confession (2011)  Priest (10 episodes, 2011)
The Jonathan Ross Show (2011)  Himself (1 episode, 2012)
BBC Proms (2011)  Himself (1 episode, 2011)
Brighton Rock (2010) Phil Corkery
Lou (2010) Doyle
Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie (2010) Brother Carnak (voice)
Love at First Sight (2010) Arthur
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010) Ollivander
A Turtle's Tale: Sammy's Adventures (2010) Grandpa Sammy (voice)
In Conversation (2010)  Himself (1 episode, 2010)
44 Inch Chest (2009) Old Man Peanut
The Limits of Control (2009) Man with Guitar
An Englishman in New York (2009) Quentin Crisp
Formula 1: BBC Sport (2009)  Himself (2 episodes, 2012-2014)
Merlin: Secrets & Magic (2009)  Himself (1 episode, 2009)
The Oxford Murders (2008) Arthur Seldom
New York, I Love You (2008) Bellhop (segment "Shekhar Kapur")
Outlander (2008) Hrothgar
Lecture 21 (2008) Mondrian Kilroy
Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008) Professor Broom
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) Professor Oxley
Merlin (2008)  The Dragon (65 episodes, 2008-2012)
Phelous & the Movies (2008)  Dr. Turner (3 episodes, 2012)
The Story of the Costume Drama (2008)  Himself (3 episodes, 2008)
Boxes (2007) Le père de Fanny
Xposé (2007)  Himself (1 episode, 2009)
Cinemassacre's Monster Madness (2007)  Kane (archive footage) (2 episodes, 2007-2013)
Up Close with Carrie Keagan (2007)  Himself (1 episode, 2008)
Today at Wimbledon (2007)  Himself - Spectator (uncredited) (1 episode, 2014)
Rencontres de cinéma (2007)  Himself (1 episode, 2008)
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006) Narrator (voice)
Whaledreamers (2006) Himself
The ONE Show (2006)  Himself / ... (2 episodes, 2011-2013)
A Taste of My Life (2006)  Himself (1 episode, 2008)
La imagen de tu vida (2006)  Caligula (1 episode, 2006)
Beyond the Gates (2005) Christopher
Short Order (2005) Felix
V for Vendetta (2005) Adam Sutler
Valiant (2005) Felix (voice)
The Skeleton Key (2005) Ben Devereaux
Manderlay (2005) Narrator (voice)
The Proposition (2005) Jellon Lamb
Doctor Who (2005)  The Doctor / ... (3 episodes, 2013)
20 to 1 (2005)  Kane (uncredited) (1 episode, 2006)
The Friday Night Project (2005)  Himself (1 episode, 2008)
Tvist (2005)  Caligula (1 episode, 2005)
Drama Connections (2005)  Himself (1 episode, 2005)
Hellboy (2004) Trevor "Broom" Bruttenholm
Freedom2speak v2.0 (2004) Himself - Actor, Great Britain
Who Do You Think You Are? (2004)  Himself (1 episode, 2007)
The Alan Clark Diaries (2004)  Alan Clark (6 episodes, 2004-2006)
The Paul O'Grady Show (2004)  Himself (1 episode, 2009)
HARDtalk Extra (2004)  Himself (1 episode, 2006)
The Twilight Hour: Visions of Ireland's Haunted Past (2003) Himself
Dogville (2003) Narrator (voice)
Meeting Che Guevara & the Man from Maybury Hill (2003) Man from Maybury Hill
Owning Mahowny (2003) Victor Foss
Crime and Punishment (2002) Porfiry, chief investigator
Miranda (2002) Christian
Timeshift (2002)  Himself (uncredited) (1 episode, 2006)
HypaSpace (2002)  Himself (2 episodes, 2006)
Today with Des and Mel (2002)  Himself (1 episode, 2005)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) Mr. Ollivander
Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001) Dr. Iannis
The Hidden Wars of Desert Storm (2001) Narrator (voice)
Tabloid (2001) Vince
Friday Night with Jonathan Ross (2001)  Himself (2 episodes, 2004-2008)
Richard & Judy (2001)  Himself (1 episode, 2006)
Spaghetti Requiem (2001) Himself
Lost Souls (2000) Father Lareaux
The Tigger Movie (2000) Narrator (voice)
Breakfast (2000)  Himself / ... (3 episodes, 2002-2011)
If... Dog... Rabbit (1999) Sean Cooper
A Monkey's Tale (1999) Sebastian (voice)
New Blood (1999) Alan White
You're Dead... (1999) Maitland
Universe (1999)  Narrator (unknown episodes)
Watership Down (1999)  General Woundwort (7 episodes, 1999-2000)
All the Little Animals (1998) Mr. Summers
Night Train (1998) Michael Poole
The Commissioner (1998) James Morton
The Greatest (1998)  Quentin Crisp (uncredited) (1 episode, 2001)
The Heaven and Earth Show (1998)  Himself (1 episode, 2005)
Bandyta (1997) Babits
Contact (1997) S.R. Hadden
The Climb (1997) Chuck Langer
Love and Death on Long Island (1997) Giles De'Ath
My Funny Valentine (1997) Happy Prince (voice)
Caiga quien caiga (1996)  Himself (1 episode, 2008)
Continuarà... (1996)  Himself (1 episode, 2008)
Two Nudes Bathing (1995) Marquis de Prey
Dead Man (1995) John Scholfield
Saigon Baby (1995) Jack Lee
Wild Bill (1995) Charley Prince
Rob Roy (1995) Montrose
Great Moments in Aviation (1994) Rex Goodyear
Second Best (1994) Uncle Turpin
Förräderi (1994) Narrator (voice)
Thumbelina (1994) Mr. Mole (voice)
Inside the Actors Studio (1994)  Himself (1 episode, 1998)
Picture Windows (1994)  Le Compte (1 episode)
Cartelera (1994)  Himself (2 episodes, 2008)
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993) The Countess
Monolith (1993) Villano
Kölcsönkapott idö (1993) Sean
Dark at Noon (1992) Anthony / Le Marquis
Performance (1992)  The Father (1 episode, 1992)
Gomorron (1992)  Himself (1 episode, 2003)
I Dreamt I Woke Up (1991) Boorman's Alter Ego
Lapse of Memory (1991) Conrad Farmer
King Ralph (1991) Lord Percival Graves
Charlie Rose (1991)  Himself - Guest (2 episodes, 1998-2011)
Romeo.Juliet (1990) La Dame aux Chats / Mercutio (voice)
Resident Alien (1990) Himself - Actor
The Field (1990) Bird' O'Donnell
Roger Corman's Frankenstein Unbound (1990) Dr. Joe Buchanan / Narrator
Hollywood Mavericks (1990) John Merrick (archive footage)
Windprints (1989) Charles Rutherford
Little Sweetheart (1989) Robert Burger
Scandal (1989) Stephen Ward
The Jim Henson Hour (1989)  Storyteller / ... (6 episodes, 1989-1992)
The Bengali Night (1988) Lucien Metz
This Morning (1988)  Himself (1 episode, 2005)
The Hunting of the Snark (1987) The Narrator
White Mischief (1987) Gilbert Colvile
Aria (1987) The Actor (segment "I pagliacci")
Vincent (1987) (voice)
Spaceballs (1987) John Hurt
Thames Film (1987) Narrator #2
From the Hip (1987) Douglas Benoit
The Last Resort with Jonathan Ross (1987)  Himself (1 episode, 1987)
The Media Show (1987)  Himself (2 episodes, 1989-1990)
The Storyteller (1987)  The Storyteller (9 episodes, 1987-1988)
Jake Speed (1986) Sid
Rocinante (1986) Bill
Screenplay (1986)  Alfred (1 episode, 1991)
The Black Cauldron (1985) The Horned King (voice)
After Darkness (1985) Peter Hunningford
Free at Last (1985) Narrator
The Hit (1984) Braddock
1984 (1984) Winston Smith
Success Is the Best Revenge (1984) Dino Montecurva
Champions (1984) Bob Champion
The Disney Family Album (1984)  Himself (1 episode, 1985)
Aspel & Company (1984)  Himself (2 episodes, 1989-1991)
Sunset People (1984) Himself
The Osterman Weekend (1983) Lawrence Fassett
The Plague Dogs (1982) Snitter (voice)
Partners (1982) Kerwin
Night Crossing (1982) Peter Strelzyk
History of the World: Part I (1981) Jesus - The Roman Empire
Entertainment Tonight (1981)  Himself (2 episodes, 2014)
Heaven's Gate (1980) Billy Irvine
The Elephant Man (1980) John Merrick
An Evening with Quentin Crisp (1980) Himself - Presenter
Alien (1979) Kane
The Lord of the Rings (1978) Aragorn (voice)
Midnight Express (1978) Max
Watership Down (1978) Hazel (voice)
The Shout (1978) Anthony Fielding
East of Elephant Rock (1978) Nash
The Disappearance (1977) Atkinson
Three Dangerous Ladies (1977) Lt. Simmonds (segment "The Island")
Hollywood Greats (1977)  Himself (2 episodes, 2004-2005)
Everyman (1977)  Eric Lomax (1 episode, 1995)
Paperback (1977)
Stream Line (1976) Chandler
I, Claudius (1976)  Caligula (5 episodes, 1976)
La nuit des Césars (1976)  Himself (1 episode, 1982)
The Ghoul (1975) Tom Rawlings
Saturday Night Live (1975)  March Hare (1 episode, 1998)
The Sweeney (1975)  Tony Grey (1 episode, 1976)
Good Morning America (1975)  Himself (2 episodes, 1979-1989)
Shades of Greene (1975)  Fred (1 episode, 1976)
Arena (1975)  Himself / ... (2 episodes, 1985-2008)
Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs (1974) Malcolm Scrawdyke
The Pied Piper (1972) Franz
Clapper Board (1972)  Himself (1 episode, 1980)
10 Rillington Place (1971) Timothy Evans
Cry of the Penguins (1971) Richard Forbush
Great Performances (1971)  Narrator / ... (2 episodes, 1994-2001)
Parkinson (1971)  Himself (1 episode, 2001)
Film '72 (1971)  Himself (1 episode, 2006)
Play for Today (1970)  Alec Cassell (1 episode, 1976)
In Search of Gregory (1969) Daniel
Sinful Davey (1969) Davey Haggart
Before Winter Comes (1969) Lieutenant Pilkington
ITV Saturday Night Theatre (1969)  Bob (1 episode, 1971)
BBC Look North (1968)  Himself (1 episode, 2010)
The Sailor from Gibraltar (1967) John
ITV Playhouse (1967)  Guy (1 episode, 1967)
A Man for All Seasons (1966) Rich
This Is My Street (1964) Charlie
Gideon C.I.D. (1964)  Freddy Tinsdale (1 episode, 1964)
Thursday Theatre (1964)  Orpheus (1 episode, 1964)
Love Story (1963)  Harry Eddows (1 episode, 1964)
Once Aboard the Lugger... (1963)  Jobey Todd (1 episode, 1963)
First Night (1963)  Desmond / ... (2 episodes, 1963-1964)
The Contact (1963)
Young and Willing (1962) Phil Corbett
Z Cars (1962)  James Hogan (1 episode, 1962)
Drama 61-67 (1961)  Private Briggs / ... (2 episodes, 1961-1963)
Probation Officer (1959)  Johnny Seton / ... (2 episodes, 1961-1962)
ITV Sunday Night Drama (1959)  Dave (1 episode, 1977)
Armchair Theatre (1956)  Joe (1 episode, 1964)
ITV Play of the Week (1955)  Dave / ... (3 episodes, 1964-1965)
Wimbledon (1937)  Himself - Spectator (uncredited) (1 episode, 2014)
Jackie (0) The Priest