A huge loss to the world of film, and the world at large, as we’ve just learned that two-time Oscar nominee John Hurt has passed away at the age of 77. The actor was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last summer, and he lost his battle today, just five days after his 77th birthday.
In the horror world, Hurt was forever immortalized as Gilbert Kane in Ridley Scott’s Alien, the ill-fated officer who was impregnated by a Facehugger. In one of the most iconic and terrifying scenes in horror history, Kane literally gave birth to the film’s Xenomorph through his chest – a scene that still to this day is sure to make you jump, squirm, and maybe lose some sleep.
Hurt’s first appearance in the horror genre came courtesy of 1975’s The Ghoul, which saw him starring alongside the equally iconic Peter Cushing. Other genre films Hurt appeared in throughout his six-decade-long career(!) include Roger Corman’s Frankenstein Unbound, Hellboy, Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, and most recently, the critically acclaimed Snowpiercer.
Of course, it would be doing John Hurt a huge disservice to only mention his work in the horror genre. The actor, who began his career in 1962, scooped up Oscar nominations for his incredible performances in both Midnight Express and The Elephant Man, and he won a Golden Globe in 1979 for the former. Hurt’s 200+ acting credits in the worlds of film and television also include Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, V for Vendetta, and a film that holds a special place in my heart, King Ralph. If John Hurt was in a movie, you can be sure John Hurt made it better.
We’ll be revisiting Alien tonight in Hurt’s honor, that’s for sure. Godspeed, sir.