John Hurt, a consummate British actor, who merely a few years ago had said that he had lived a satisfying life, is dead. He was 77.
Reports suggest that the famed British actor was suffering from pancreatic cancer for the last couple of years and probably lost his life to the dreaded cancer.
There is no denying that John Hurt’s one of the many films would have sufficed to ensure a name for him in the annals of history, he is more than that. He was versatile actor and people loved in every avatar.
No one can forget his stellar roles in films like “The Elephant Man” and “1984” besides many others. His spokesman told the media that the actor breathed his last in London on Friday.
He was as impressive in front of the camera, as in front of live audience on stage. But he was unrecognizable in his most memorable role as the star of 1980’s “The Elephant Man,” in which he portrayed with great dignity and pain the real-life John Merrick, who suffered from a disfiguring, debilitating disease.
He tried to tell the world about the pain and the sort of ordeal he had to undergo during makeup required to become the gentle soul with the monstrous skull.
In eighties while talking about his role in the film, he said, “It never occurred to me it would take eight hours for them to apply the full thing — virtually a working day in itself…There were 16 different pieces to that mask. With all that makeup on, I couldn’t be sure what I was doing. I had to rely totally” on director David Lynch.
No one was surprised over the superlative success of the film. It went on to receive eight Academy Award nominations, including one for Hurt as lead actor, but he lost out to Robert De Niro, for his role in “Raging Bull.” He nailed a Golden Globe Award for supporting actor in 1979 for “Midnight Express,” in which he played a heroin addict in a Turkish prison.
Unlike many others, he knew that his calling was in acting at a very early age. During a stage performance when he was all of nine years old, he “felt an extraordinary feeling that I was in the place that I was meant to be”. The actor recounted the feeling in an interview with the The Guardian in 2000.
He performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and became famous on both sides of the Atlantic. He was honored in 2012 with a lifetime achievement award by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and was knighted in 2015.