William Hurt, the famous American actor, passed away on March 13, 2022, at his home in Portland, Oregon, at the age of 71. Hurt was a well-known name in the industry with a career that lasted more than 40 years. His most famous roles include the effeminate homosexual Luis Alberto Molina from the movie Kiss of the Spider Woman (for which he received an Academy Award for Best Actor), Professor Allen Hobby in Spielberg’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Richie Cusak in A History of Violence, and Thaddeus Ross in several MCU films. He has also appeared in numerous television works.
William McChord Hurt was born on March 20, 1950, in Washington, D.C. He got interested in acting during high school, with his yearbook correctly predicting that “you might even see him on Broadway.” Although he initially studied theology, he quickly switched to Julliard, where he graduated in 1976. His acting career began in 1977 on stage and on television.
Hurt landed his first cinematic role in 1980, playing Professor Edward Jessup in Ken Russell’s Altered States. His breakthrough role came quickly after his debut, in the 1985 film Kiss of the Spider Woman. Directed by Héctor Babenco, this Brazilian-American co-production was acclaimed as one of the best films of the year after its premiere in Cannes on May 13, 1985. Hurt played an effeminate homosexual named Luis Alberto Molina, who was imprisoned for raping an underage boy.
In the movie, Molina exchanges stories and replies with his cellmate Valentin Arregui, played by Raúl Juliá, who was imprisoned for being a leftist during the Brazilian military dictatorship (1964–1985). The movie received numerous awards and nominations, with William Hurt winning the Best Actor Award in Cannes, the BAFTA for Best Actor in a Leading Role, and the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
This was Hurt’s first and only Oscar, although he was nominated another three times during his career – twice for Best Actor (in 1986, for the role of James Leeds in Children of a Lesser God, and in 1987 for playing Tom Grunick in Broadcast News), and once for Best Supporting Actor (in 2005, for the role of Richie Cusack in A History of Violence).
William Hurt would go on having a prolific career on screen, on television, and on stage, being one of the most respected Hollywood actors. He has even appeared in several MCU movies, playing General Thaddeus Ross, who debuted in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk.
In 2018, he was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer that had already metastasized to his bones. He ultimately passed away from complications of the disease in 2022. Thank you, William, for all the great roles you’ve given us and may you rest in piece.