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Profile of William Hurt

Updated on March 13, 2015

William Hurt was born on 25 March 1950, Washington D.C, Alfred Mccord Hurt was a director of the U.S state department. Claire McGill his mother who divorced her husband in 1956 and remarried Henry Luce III. The Son of a well-known and wealthy American publisher of Time Inc., Life and Sports illustrated. At the age of ten Hurt was sent to boarding school, soon after his mother had remarried. As a youngster, he decided to get involved in amateur dramatics taking regular parts in school plays. He pursued his interest in acting right up to his senior year, eventually becoming vice president of the school drama club.


Hurt was accepted into Tufts University to study Theology he continued acting in plays when he wasn’t studying. It was his lecturers who noticed were his real talents were, and encouraged Hurt to become a professional actor when he left University. After graduating from Tufts University, he applied to Julliard Drama School studying alongside with another promising actor, Christopher Reeve.

His first acting role once he left Julliard was on stage in a Shakespeare festival and then the Circulatory Regulatory company in New York. In 1977, Hurt won an Obie award for his performance in My Life and three years later he landed his first film role in Altered States. Hurt plays a scientist who experiments on himself with disastrous results. In 1981, the following year he starred in the film Body Heat along with another rising star Kathleen Turner. Hurt was now an established, high profile, sort after actor as he was now being offered bigger film roles. The Big Chill was a comedy movie from Hollywood starring Hurt. Also starring Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum and Kevin Kline, as a group of friends reunited at a funeral when a friend of their's tragically dies. Kiss of the Spider Woman was released two years later starring Hurt in the film‘s lead role. After being imprisoned in a South American jail, Hurt plays a homosexual drag queen named Luis, who shares a cell with co-star Raul Julia a political prisoner. Luis tells his cellmate stories to try to escape the drudgery of their jail existence that each of them is enduring. In 1986, his next role was in the film Children of a Lesser God in which he played a school teacher at a deaf school for children. While working at the school he meets a young deaf woman played by Marlee Matlin who is highly intelligent yet troubled individual. After an exceptional performance by Hurt, he was nominated and won an Oscar for the Academy Award in 1986.

The next two years he won two more Oscars for best actor at the Academy Awards in Broadcast News and Accidental Tourist. In 1990, Hurt starred in Woody Allen’s film Alice a romantic comedy set in the future. Six years later Hurt landed a role in Jane Eyre with Charlotte Gainsbourg and Anna Paquin based on Charlotte Bronte’s novel. Lost in Space was his next film role in 1998, based on the popular television series. A History of Violence was his next film role in 2005 for which he won his fourth Academy Award. Casted as a villain in the film, he played an organized crime boss who seeks revenge on his brother. In 2012, J'enrage de son absence was a French language film which Hurt played a bereaved father. Roughly the same time he acted in The Host a scientific film based on the novel by Stephanie Meyer, which was released earlier this year.

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