HomeEntertainmentOscar-Winning Actor William Hurt Dies at 71

Oscar-Winning Actor William Hurt Dies at 71

by Suzanne Halliburton
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SBIFF

William Hurt, who had an incredible streak of Oscar nominations in the 1980s, died Sunday, his family announced. He was 71.

His son, Will, posted a statement about his dad’s passing to social media.

It is with great sadness that the Hurt family mourns the passing of William Hurt, beloved father and Oscar winning actor, on March 13, 2022, one week before his 72nd birthday. He died peacefully, among family, of natural causes. The family requests privacy at this time.”

No cause of death was given. Hurt died at his home in Portland, Oregon. He’d been diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer in 2018.

(Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

William Hurt Starred in Big 80s Movies and Appeared in Marvel Films

Maybe you remember William Hurt for winning best actor for Kiss of the Spiderwoman.

But he also starred in two of the most prominent movies of the 1980s in Body Heat and Broadcast News.

In Body Heat, Hurt portrayed Ned Racine, an inept lawyer in Florida, who had an affair with the sultry Matty, the wife of a wealthy man. Kathleen Turner played Matty in a role that launched her to 80s superstardom. Ned and Matty killed Edmund, Matty’s husband. The two also reworked Edmund’s will to nullify her pre-nup. But the plot was far more complicated. Ned ended up in prison while Matty started another life.

In Broadcast News, William Hurt portrayed Tom Grunick, a former sportscaster who found himself as the lead anchor of a network’s evening news. Tom was handsome, charming and good on camera. But he wasn’t the smartest guy. The movie showed how network news would prefer a guy like Grunick, as opposed to James Brooks’ character Aaron Altman, who sweats through his shirt while on camera. Hurt was a Best Actor nominee for his role.

Hurt also starred in Children of a Lesser God. He earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Marlee Matlin won for Best Actress.

Hurt received his fourth Academy Award nomination two decades later with a supporting role in the crime thriller, History of Violence in 2005.

His career continued within the Marvel Universe super hero movies. He played General Thaddeus Ross, who was there when an experiment gone wrong transformed Bruce Banner into the Hulk. His character appeared in five Marvel films — The Incredible HulkCaptain America: Civil WarAvengers: Infinity WarAvengers: Endgame, and Black Widow, 

Initially, William Hurt studied theology at Tufts Universe. But he decided he wanted to be an actor and enrolled at Julliard. He was in the same class as future stars Robin Williams and Christopher Reeve. His film debut was in 1980 with the sci-fi thriller Altered State. Hurt earned a Golden Globe nomination for top new star of the year.

Hurt is survived by his four children.