John Hurt

John Hurt

77 (passed away Jan. 27th, 2017)
Jan. 22nd, 1940
Born in
Shirebrook, Derbyshire, England, UK
5' 9

John Hurt's Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
Merlin (UK) TV Show
Merlin (UK)
Masters of Science Fiction TV Show
Masters of Science Fiction
Who Do You Think You Are? (UK) TV Show
Who Do You Think You Are? (UK)
I, Claudius (UK) TV Show
I, Claudius (UK)
The Hollow Crown (UK) TV Show
The Hollow Crown (UK)
Human Planet TV Show
Human Planet
Watership Down (CA) TV Show
Watership Down (CA)
Crime and Punishment (UK) TV Show
Crime and Punishment (UK)
The Naked Civil Servant (UK) TV Show
The Naked Civil Servant (UK)

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


John Vincent Hurt, CBE (born January 22, 1940) is an English actor.

Born in Shirebrook, a coal mining village near the busy market town of Chesterfield, in Derbyshire, England, to a parish vicar and a one-time actress. 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.

Hurt couldn't manage to get another scholarship to art school, his focus invariably turned to acting. Accepted into the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he remained for two years and made his stage debut in 1962 in typically offbeat form with "Infanticide in the House of Fred Ginger". His focus as a painter, however, triggered a keen skill in the art of observation and certainly advanced his talent for getting into the skin of his characters.

Hurt's first film was The Wild and the Willing (1962) but his first major role was as Richard Rich in A Man for All Seasons (1966).

Hurt increased his respect with such plays as Inadmissible Evidence (1965), Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs (1966), a role he later took to film as Little Malcolm (1974), Macbeth (as Malcolm) (1967), Man and Superman (1969), as well as 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, The Caretaker, The Dumb Waiter, and in 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 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.

Hurt is known for his leading roles as John Merrick in The Elephant Man, Winston Smith in Nineteen Eighty-Four, Mr. Braddock in The Hit, Stephen Ward in Scandal, Quentin Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant and An Englishman in New York, and Caligula in I, Claudius. Recognisable for his distinctive rich voice, he has also enjoyed a successful voice acting career, starring in films such as Watership Down, the animated The Lord of the Rings and Dogville, as well as the BBC television series Merlin. He portrayed the War Doctor in the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special "The Day of the Doctor", following cameos in previous episodes.

Hurt initially came to prominence for his role as Richard Rich in the 1966 film A Man for All Seasons, and has since appeared in films such as: Alien, Midnight Express, Rob Roy, V for Vendetta, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the Harry Potter film series, the Hellboy films, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Hurt is one of Britain's best-known, most prolific and sought-after actors, and has had a versatile film career spanning six decades. He is also known for his many Shakespearean roles. His character's final scene in Alien is consistently named as one of the most memorable in cinematic history.

Since 2006, John Hurt has been a patron of Project Harar, a UK-based charity working in Ethiopia for children with facial disfigurements.

In 2012 he was appointed the first Provost of Norwich University of the Arts.

On January 24, 1990, Hurt married American production assistant Joan Dalton, his third wife, whom he had met while filming Scandal. With her he had two sons: Sasha John Vincent Hurt (born February 6, 1990) and Nick Hurt (born February 5, 1993), who are currently residing in County Waterford, Ireland. Nick has gone to acting school in England and wishes to follow in his father's footsteps. This marriage ended in 1996.

In March 2005, Hurt married his fourth wife, advertising film producer Anwen Rees Meyers. He now lives near Cromer, Norfolk

  • He did the film _History of the World: Part I (1981)_ (qv) because he had just gotten through doing two seriously dramatic films and said that he wanted to have fun and do a comedy.
  • Awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2004 'Queen Elizabeth II' (qv)'s Birthday Honours List for services to Drama.
  • He is an Associate of RADA.
  • Has two sons with 'Jo Dalton' (qv): Nicolas and Alexander.
  • Is the youngest of three children.
  • 26th January 2006, received an honorary Doctorate in Letters from the University of Hull, Yorkshire.
  • An early passion for acting was triggered when he saw 'Alec Guinness' (qv) play Fagin in the film _Oliver Twist (1948)_ (qv).
  • Father was a vicar in Derbyshire.

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