Off the back of a year that was dreadful for celebrity deaths, January 2017 rounds off another month of tragic farewells with a tearful goodbye. John Hurt is the latest legend to tragically pass, taking with him a career that has spanned two Oscar nominations, a knighthood, and 55 years in acting. Hurt died at the age of 77 after a battle with pancreatic cancer, and as a legend of the silver screen, it is unsurprising that the great and the good have poured out their hearts in memory of Hurt on social media. Everyone from Guillermo del Toro to Mel Brooks shared their fond memories of the English gent.
Described as a "venerable human being," Hurt will surely be missed thanks to his immense acting talent and powerful performances in movies like Midnight Express and most recently Jackie. Hurt is remembered by co-stars and admirers alike, however, with such a diverse back catalogue, he has worked with anyone and everyone in Hollywood:
Equally legendary director/actor Mel Brooks reminded us of how Hurt's role as John Merrick in The Elephant Man made him unforgettable. The duo worked together when Hurt (briefly) reprised his iconic role as Kane from Alien for a part in Brooks's goofball comedy Spaceballs.
Hurt, who played wand maestro Garrick Ollivander in the Harry Potter film series, was remembered by author J.K. Rowling, while Potter co-star Bonnie Wright said "Wand shopping will never be the same without you." The entire Harry Potter community were saddened by Hurt's loss, asking fans to "raise a wand" as tribute.
Daredevil's Vincent D'Onofrio reminded us that even Hollywood actors like himself could learn a lot from Hurt. Meanwhile, Jamie Lee Curtis tweeted: “John Hurt. Midnight Express. Nothing better. Ever" and Sharon Stone: "God speed to John Hurt, a legendary actor and good human being."
Natalie Portman shared her sadness in a touching statement on her time with Hurt:
"I was lucky enough to make two films with him — both of which were taken to the next level because of his performances. He was the most talented actor, and also a deeply good and funny and poetic and smart and warm human being."
However, nothing was more heartfelt than the parting message from Hurt's widow, Anwen. In a statement to the Press Association, his wife described the world as a "strange place" now that her husband was gone, but that she would remember him fondly:
"John was the most sublime of actors and the most gentlemanly of gentlemen with the greatest of hearts and the most generosity of spirit. He touched all our lives with joy and magic and it will be a strange world without him."
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A Fitting Farewell
First starring in 1962's The Wild and the Willing, Hurt went on to appear in over 129 movies and dozens of TV shows. The actor will be most remembered for his roles in movies like The Elephant Man, Nineteen Eighty-Four, and the Hellboy films. For some, he will be known as a veteran of sci-fi; Hurt's "chestburster" scene from Ridley Scott's Alien is one of the greatest horror scenes ever and set his path into other sci-fi outings like Snowpiercer, V for Vendetta, and even a stint on Doctor Who.
While Hurt may be gone, he is certainly not forgotten, and still has a few more tricks up his sleeve. There will be five posthumous films starring Hurt released in 2017, which include the historical war drama Darkest Hour, which features Ben Mendelsohn and once again teams Hurt up with Gary Oldman. With a career more diverse than most, Hurt will lovingly be remembered as the hero he was.
Check out Hurt's iconic scene in Alien, and don't forget our poll below!