In Memoriam: John Hurt (1940-2017)

john_hurt2On the evening of January 27th (for those of us on the western side of the Atlantic), it was announced that beloved actor, John Hurt, had passed away, aged 77. Hurt is not the first major celebrity death of 2017, but his loss is keenly felt by these Geekettes, who had grown to love him in a variety of roles over the years.

Sir John Hurt was knighted in 2015 for his services to drama, and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that same year. In a career spanning six decades, Hurt was nominated for two Oscars, and won four BAFTA awards and a Golden Globe. He is survived by his wife of 12 years. As of this writing, there is no official statement regarding cause of death.

Megan: Probably my first encounter with John Hurt was in a voice role – Mr. Mole in 1994’s animated Thumbelina which I distinctly remember watching multiple times as a child. The first time I would have seen him in a live action role was almost definitely in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as Mr. Ollivander. As the slightly odd wandmaker, Hurt brought in some magic of his own to the Harry Potter movies. Later, in the Merlin television series, Hurt lent his distinctive voice to the Great Dragon Kilgharrah who, I won’t lie, was one of my favorite characters on that show (I really loved that show a lot). The most recent role I was delighted to see Hurt take on was the War Doctor in Doctor Who, and whatever your thoughts about that plotline of the show, I absolutely loved Hurt in the role. His bitter, rough-edged version of the Doctor added something valuable to the canon, and I thank him for that.

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Brianna: The first time I knew John Hurt by name was when he was amazingly introduced as the “secret incarnation” of The Doctor in Doctor Who‘s 50th Anniversary special in 2013. I later recognized him in Merlin and Harry Potter, and NOT UNTIL I READ MEGAN’S PARAGRAPH DID I KNOW HE WAS MR. MOLE. Holy crap.

Hurt’s career was long and rich in a variety roles, both live action and animated. He played the spectrum from Oscar bait to nerd culture roles. For every Elephant Man, he had a Hellboy or “Attitude”. He provided distinct voices for The Horned King in The Black Cauldron and Aragorn in Lord of the Rings (1978). I’ll remember him fondly as the addled Dr. Oxley in the Indiana Jones movie that everyone else hates, detest him as Chancellor Sutler in V for Vendetta, and laugh at his cameo in Spaceballs, a nod at his iconic role in Alien.

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Farewell, War Doctor. Farewell, Kilgharrah. Farewell, Mr. Ollivander. You will be missed.

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