Actor William Hurt Dies March 13
William Hurt, the actor known for “The Big Chill,” “Body Heat,” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” died on March 13, 2022. He was 71.
Hurt was born in Washington, D.C., but spent most of his early years in Guam and Hawaii, due to his father’s post with the State Department. After his parents divorced, he moved to Manhattan with his mother and brothers.
He studied theology, then switched to theater and studied at Juilliard for three years. His fellow students included Robin Williams, Mandy Patinkin, and Christopher Reeve. After leaving Juilliard, he joined the Circle Repertory Company and performed in many theatrical productions, including “Hamlet,” “Richard II,” and “My Life.”
He made his film debut in “Altered States,” followed by “Body Heat,” “The Big Chill,” and too many more to list here. He won both the best actor award at Cannes and an Oscar for his role in “Kiss of the Spider Woman.”
Hurt is one of only nine actors nominated for the best actor Academy Award three years in a row. However, he did not necessarily relish such accolades: “Success is isolating. Certainly the Oscar was isolating. In some ways, it was antithetical to what I was aiming at. I didn’t want to be isolated.”
He had a reputation for being difficult on set, but he continued to work throughout his life, in movies and occasionally onstage. He once said, “Acting is building the tip of the iceberg. You have to build what isn’t seen and then play the tip. Only a little bit of the iceberg is ever seen, but it is massive.”
In recent years, Hurt appeared in a string of Marvel films, playing General Thaddeus Ross.
He was married twice and also had several high-profile relationships, including time spent with Marlee Matlin, his co-star in “Children of a Lesser God.” He hated publicity about his private life just as much as he disliked awards. He once commented, “There’s this odd thing that my acting is assumed to be this clamor for attention to my person, as if I needed so much love or so much attention that I would give up my right to be a private person.”
Four years ago, William Hurt was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He died of natural causes in Portland, Oregon, at his home. He is survived by three sons and one daughter.
Barnes, Mike. “William Hurt, Star of ‘Body Heat,’ ‘Kiss of the Spider Woman’ and ‘Broadcast News,’ Dies at 71.” The Hollywood Reporter, March 13, 2022, https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movies/movie-news/william-hurt-dead-body-heat-broadcast-news-1235110394/.
Coyle, Jake. “William Hurt, Star of ‘Broadcast News,’ ‘Body Heat,’ dies.” AP News, March 14, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/william-hurt-dies-oscar-winner-kiss-of-the-spider-woman-57349518e934eb20bf42b570fe21e6b4.
Elassar, Alaa, et al. “William Hurt, actor known for ‘Body Heat’ and ‘Kiss of the Spider Woman,’ dies.” CNN, March 13, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/13/us/william-hurt-actor-death/index.html.
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