I was really pleased to meet one of our very best actors, John Hurt, at the London Film & Comic Convention in July 2008. He was very friendly and we had a chat about his role in The Elephant Man. I told him how much I had enjoyed the film, which I have watched a number of times. He signed a still from the film for me.
John also signed my Alien masterprint, and a photo from the film.
his mother an engineer and amateur actress. He has a brother who is a monk in Ireland, and an adopted sister. John attended a prep school in Kent (it was here, aged 9, that he decided that he wanted to act after seeing Alec Guinness as Fagin in the 1948 film Oliver Twist) followed by a boarding school in Lincoln. After two years at art school, he won a scholarship to RADA where he was finally to do the one thing he had always wanted to do - act.
In 1962, he made his professional stage debut in Infanticide In The House of Fred Ginger and also his film debut in The Wild and the Willing (1962).
In 1965 Hurt was 'spotted' by director Fred Zinnemann who gave him a small role in the film version of A Man For All Seasons (1966) which went on to win six Oscars. John Hurt became more widely known, and over the next decade, had a mixture of TV and film roles, including Daniel in In Search of Gregory (1969), Timothy Evans in 10 Rillington Place (1971) and Franz in The Pied Piper (1972).
In 1975 came a turning point when Hurt played the cross-dressing role of Quentin Crisp in the TV series, The Naked Civil Servant. His performance lead to a number of fine performances over the next few years. His work included Caligula in the BBC TV drama I, Claudius
In 2002, Hurt was given an honorary degree by the University of Derby (something he described as giving him 'immense pleasure') and in 2006, received another from Hull University.
His more recent roles have included the 'Big Brother'-type leader Adam Sutler in V for Vendetta (2005), and Christopher, a Catholic priest in Shooting Dogs (2005) a film about the atrocities in Rwanda. He has also appeared as the controversial, flamboyant
Good quality film roles continued during the 1980s, notably as Winston Smith in the adaptation of Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984) and Stephen Ward in Scandal (1989) the story of disgraced government minister John Profumo.
2001 was a good year for John Hurt, with critcally acclaimed performances as Dr Iannis in Captain Corelli's Mandolin and as Mr Ollivander, the magic wand seller, in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, a role which he has described as 'a lot of fun'.
Not all of Hurt's films in the 1990s were succesful although there were exceptions like Rob Roy (1995). He says, "I've done some stinkers in the cinema. You can't regret it; there are always reasons for doing something, even if it's just the location."
John Hurt was awarded the CBE in the 2004 Honours List, for services to Drama. In the 2015 New Year's Honours list, he was given a knighthood. John Hurt has been married four times and has two sons from his third marriage.
As Richard in A Man For All Seasons
As Timothy Evans in 10 Rillington Place
John Hurt was born in Shirebrook in Derbyshire in 1940. His father was the local vicar, and
As Phil in The Wild and the Willing
As Daniel in In Search of Gregory
As Caligula in I, Claudius
As Quentin Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant
(1976), and Max the Englishman
in the film Midnight Express (1978), Kane in Alien (including the famous scene where an alien bursts from his stomach), and the lead role of John Merrick in The Elephant Man (1980). Hurt had to spend seven hours in make up for this
him a BAFTA award for 'best actor' in 1981.
John Hurt signed my photo of him in The Elephant Man
John Hurt signed my photo of him as Kane in Alien
Nicholas Cage, John Hurt & Penelope Cruz
In Captain Corelli's Mandolin
As Mr Ollivander in Harry Potter
and the Philosopher's Stone
As Montrose in Rob Roy
As Christopher in Shooting Dogs
As Alan Clark in
The Alan Clark Diaries
As Adam Sutler in V for Vendetta
As Winston Smith in Nineteen Eighty-Four
Conservative politician Alan Clark in the 6-episode TV series The Alan Clark Diaries (2004-2006). In 2008, John Hurt plays Quentin Crisp again in the ITV production of An Englishman In New York, this time following Crisp's adventures in his adopted city during the 1980s & 90s.
As Quentin Crisp in
An Englishman in New York
John Hurt with his honorary degree
from Hull University
Alien bursting from John Hurt's stomach
black and white film which won
John Hurt with his mother and father
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Sir John Hurt (1940-2017)
Sir John Hurt died on 27th January 2017, just three days after his 77th birthday