William Hurt, who reached a career zenith with the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for drama Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1986, has died. He was 71.
“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,” tweeted his son Will.
“He died peacefully, among family, of natural causes. The family requests privacy at this time.”
Born March 20, 1950 in Washington, D.C., William Hurt began his career in stage productions and was part of the acting group at the Circle Repertory Company from 1977 to 1989. He won the Obie Award for his debut appearance there in My Life, and won a 1978 Theatre Guild Award for his performances in Fifth of July, Ulysses in Traction, and Lulu.
After early appearances on television as a guest star in crime drama Kojak and in miniseries The Best of Families, both in 1977, Hurt’s first major film role was in the science fiction-themed Altered States in 1980. It resulted in a Golden Globe nomination for Best New Star of the Year in a Motion Picture – Male.
In 1981, Hurt’s performance opposite Kathleen Turner in neo-noir classic Body Heat elevated him to stardom. Two years later, in 1983, he appeared in the widely-acclaimed dramas The Big Chill and Gorky Park.
Hurt also received Oscar nominations for Children of a Lesser God (1986), Broadcast News (1987), and A History of Violence (2005).
Other films throughout the course of Hurt’s career included Eyewitness (1981), The Accidental Tourist (1988), A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), The Village (2004), Syriana (2005), The Good Shepherd (2006), Mr. Brooks (2007), Into the Wild (2007), and Robin Hood (2001).
On television, Hurt’s one regularly scheduled role was in the 2009 season of drama Damages, which resulted in an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. He also received an Emmy nom for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for Too Big Too Fail in 2011.
In 2007, Marvel Studios announced that Hurt would portray General Thaddeus Ross in the 2008 film The Incredible Hulk, which introduced the actor to a whole new generation of fans. He reprised the role in Captain America: Civil War (2016), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Avengers: Endgame (2019) and Black Widow (2021).
Hurt is survived by his four children.