Suddenly on the evening of March 13th comes very bad news: William Hurt, Oscar-winning actor and one of the greatest actors of all time, died a week before his 72nd birthday.
Deadline Hollywood was the first American media to break the news of the unexpected and untimely death of William HurtOscar-winning actor for Kiss of the Spider Woman by Hector Babenco, and one of the most extraordinary performers of his generation, aged only 71. To break the news was the son Willie, with these words:
It is with great sadness that the Hurt family mourns the death of William Hurt, beloved father and Oscar-winning actor, on March 13, 2022, a week before his 72nd birthday. He died in peace, in his family, of natural causes. The family at this time asks for respect for privacy.
William Hurt: the charm of intelligence
For those who, like the writer, have seen it appear William Hurt at the cinema in the 1980s and immediately fell in love with it, thanks to his performance in States of hallucination from Ken Russell where it literally pierced the screen, the blow was hard. We’ve been hoping for a cruel hoax for a while, but Variety checked the news with a friend of the actor, Gerry Byrne, and now even this faint hope is gone. Probably the physique of this very tall and powerful actor did not stand up to the years in which he fought with alcoholism (the same in which he was romantically linked to the deaf actress Marlee Matlinthis year present in CODA), because his death seems really premature, considering all he has given to the cinema and what he still could have given.
In the eighties William Hurt was the prototype of an intellectual and ironic male beauty, as he himself was. Born in Washington, son of a man who worked for the State Department, after the divorce of his parents he was raised by his stepfather, descendant of the famous publisher Henry Luce, and already in high school he distinguished himself as vice president of the Dramatics Club and performed as the protagonist of many school plays, so much so that under his graduation photo, in the school yearbook, a prediction turned out to be correct: “you might even see him on Broadway”. Before devoting himself to his true passion, Hurt tries to study Theology at the University, but then graduates from the prestigious acting school. Juilliardwhere he is in class with Christopher Reeve And Robin Williams. After having trodden the boards of the stage in numerous plays, the young actor arrived at the cinema thanks to Ken Russell in 1980 and since then has established himself as one of the most flexible and interesting interpreters of his generation. We remember him extraordinary and sensual in the noir of 1981 Warm shiverin perfect alchemy with Kathleen Turner and in the generational and choral cult The big coldalways of Lawrence Kasdan. He was a perfect Soviet policeman in Gorky Park, adaptation of the novel by Martin Cruz Smith. In 1986, in his first Oscar nomination for best protagonist, he hits the mark by winning the Academy Award with the moving character of the homosexual Molina in Kiss of the Spider Woman from Hector Babencofrom the masterpiece of the Argentine writer Manuel Puig. In 1987 he comes again Oscar nominee for Children of a Lesser God. Work with Kasdan again in I will love you … until I kill you And Tourist by chancewith Luis Puenzo ne The plague by Albert Camus, with James L. Brooks in Inside the newsso in 1988 he comes again Oscar nominee.
In the nineties William Hurt, star in spite of himself the previous decade, turns out to be an excellent character actor, and is for example a splendid Rochester in the Jane Eyre by Franco Zeffirelli. He works a lot throughout the 2000s, in the cinema and in TV series such as Humans, Beowulf, Condor And Goliath. His fourth and final Oscar nomination deservedly obtained it in 2006 thanks to History of Violence from David Cronenberg. William Hurt was linked from 1992 to 1997 with the French actress Sandrine Bonnaire, with whom he also had a daughter (he had three others from previous unions). We will see it again in The King’s Daughterand cinecomic lovers will remember him in the Marvel moviefrom The Incredible Hulk from 2008 to the most recent Captain America And Black Widowpassing through the Avengersin the role of secretary of state Thaddeus Ross. On this sad occasion, we advise younger viewers to see the films in which this great actor was the protagonist, to find out why he made a generation of their peers fall in love with him who today mourn his death with sincere pain.