Oscar-winning American actor William Hurt has passed away, says his son Will. Hurt turned 71 years old and would have turned 72 next week.
"It is with great sadness that the Hurt family mourns William Hurt, a beloved father and Oscar-winning actor, who passed away on March 13, 2022."
According to the son, the actor died of natural causes, and fell asleep peacefully surrounded by the family.
William Hurt was born on March 20, 1950 in Washington DC. He made his white screen debut in 1980 in the science fiction thriller "The Experiment", for which he was also nominated for a Golden Globe.
Hurt won an Oscar for best male lead in the film "Spider Woman's Kiss" in 1985. He was also nominated in the same category for the roles in "Beyond All Words" in 1986 and "Broadcast News - News Fever" in 1987.
Hurt began his career in stage productions, only later acting in films. From 1977 to 1989, he was a member of the acting company at Circle Repertory Company. He won an Obie Award for his debut appearance there in Corinne Jacker's My Life, and won a 1978 Theatre World Award for his performances in Fifth of July, Ulysses in Traction, and Lulu. In 1979, Hurt played Hamlet under the direction of Marshall W. Mason opposite Lindsay Crouse and Beatrice Straight. His first major film role was in the science-fiction film Altered States where his performance as an obsessed scientist gained him wide recognition. His performance with Richard Crenna, Ted Danson and newcomer Kathleen Turner in Lawrence Kasdan's neo-noir classic Body Heat elevated Hurt to stardom, and he later also co-starred in Kasdan's The Big Chill (1983). He appeared in the thriller Gorky Park opposite Lee Marvin. He received the Best Male Performance Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Award for Best Actor for Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1985. He received three additional Oscar nominations: Best Actor for Children of a Lesser God (1986) and Broadcast News (1987; he was thus nominated for Best Actor for three consecutive years) and Best Supporting Actor for A History Of Violence (2005). Hurt also starred in Tuck Everlasting as Angus Tuck.
Often cast as an intellectual, Hurt starred in films such as Lost in Space, but was also effective in other kinds of roles, as in I Love You to Death and David Cronenberg's psychological drama A History of Violence (2005), where in less than 10 minutes of screen time he plays the creepy mob boss, Richie Cusack. Also in 2005, Hurt played a mysterious government operative in Stephen Gaghan's ensemble drama about the politics of big oil, Syriana.
Hurt was in the miniseries adaptation of Stephen King's Nightmares and Dreamscapes, in a piece entitled Battleground (also notable for its complete lack of dialogue). He plays Renshaw, a hitman who receives a package from the widow of a toymaker he had killed, unaware of what is waiting inside for him. He appeared in the cast of Vanya, an adaptation of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, at the Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland, Oregon.
In June 2007, Marvel Studios announced that Hurt would portray General Thaddeus Ross in the 2008 film The Incredible Hulk alongside Edward Norton, Liv Tyler and Tim Roth. Hurt reprised his role in Captain America: Civil War (2016), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Avengers: Endgame (2019), and Black Widow (2021).
He appeared in Sean Penn's film Into the Wild, the true story of Christopher McCandless. He appeared as President Henry Ashton in the 2008 action-thriller Vantage Point. Hurt also played Mr. Brooks's alter ego in Mr. Brooks, which starred Kevin Costner.
In 2009, Hurt became a series regular on the FX series Damages playing a corporate whistleblower opposite Glenn Close and Marcia Gay Harden. For his role in the series, he earned a 2009 Primetime Emmy Award nomination in the "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series" category. Hurt's 2009 Sundance film The Yellow Handkerchief was released in theaters on February 26, 2010, by Samuel Goldwyn Films. He was in the Thailand-based 2011 thriller Hellgate alongside Cary Elwes and Paula Taylor, directed by John Penney.
In September 2010, Hurt played United States Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson in the HBO film Too Big to Fail, an adaptation of Andrew Ross Sorkin's book. He also starred as Captain Ahab in the 2011 television adaptation of Herman Melville's novel Moby-Dick. In 2018, Hurt was cast as the lead in The Coldest Game (2019), but after he was injured in an off-set accident, he was replaced by Bill Pullman.
Hurt had been set to appear in the series Pantheon and films The Fence, Men of Granite, and Edward Enderby before his death in March 2022. It is currently unknown if he ever finished or filmed these roles.