LONDON: Oscar-nominated British actor John Hurt, known for his roles in “Elephant Man” and “Harry Potter”, has died aged 77 after a battle with pancreatic cancer, reports said Saturday citing his agent.
The versatile actor, who played Mr. Ollivander in “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” and in two other films in the series, also starred in the movie adaptation of George Orwell’s novel “1984”.
He also played the role of Kane in “Alien”, who dies when the creature dramatically bursts from his chest.
He was twice nominated for an Oscar, in the best supporting actor category for his performance in the 1978 film “Midnight Express” as Max, a British man imprisoned in Turkey, and for his starring role in “Elephant Man” two years later.
He received a BAFTA award for “Midnight Express” as well as a Golden Globe in the best actor in a supporting role category.
His death was confirmed to the British press agency PA by his agent Charles McDonald.
Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood paid tribute to the actor, writing on Twitter: “Very sad to hear of John Hurt’s passing. It was such an honor to have watched you work, sir.”
Among many tributes to flood in following news of his death, American actor Chris Evans described Hurt as “remarkable”.
“John Hurt was one of the most powerful, giving, and effortlessly real actors I’ve ever worked with Remarkable human being. U will be missed,” he wrote on Twitter.
Born on January 22, 1940 in Chesterfield, central England, Hurt first began his career as a teacher of drawing.
But he quickly moved to a life on camera and, after entering the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London, he began his career in British film in the 1960s.
But it was at the end of the 1970s when his career definitively took off following back-to-back roles in “Midnight Express” and “Alien”.
Hurt, who appeared in some 140 films, often playing supporting roles, also maintained a strong television presence, making appearances in cult British series Doctor Who among others.
The actor, who received a total of four BAFTAs, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2014.
His cancer was diagnosed the following year but he did not give up his profession.
For his final role, he played Father Richard McSorley in the biopic “Jackie”, the story of the former American First Lady, which was released in December in the US.
He was however forced to pull out of a play last July on the advice of his doctors.
“It is therefore with great sadness and disappointment that I must withdraw,” he said at the time. AFP