Sir John Hurt, 77; actor, two-time Oscar nominee
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The versatile actor Sir John Hurt, who could move audiences to tears in "The Elephant Man," terrify them in "Alien," and spoof that very same scene in "Spaceballs," has died. He was 77.
Hurt, who battled pancreatic cancer, died Friday in London, according to his agent Charles McDonald.
Twice nominated for an Oscar for playing the tortured John Merrick in David Lynch's "The Elephant Man" and for his role as the heroin addict Max in "Midnight Express," Hurt's career spanned over 50 years. After minor television and film appearances, his breakout came in 1966 as Richard Rich in Fred Zinnemann's "A Man For All Seasons," followed by his portrayal of Caligula in the BBC miniseries "I, Claudius" in 1976.
The wiry Hurt brought gravitas to Alan Parker's 1978 film "Midnight Express," for which he received a supporting actor Oscar nomination (he lost to Christopher Walken for "The Deer Hunter") and an uneasy humor to Kane in Ridley Scott's "Alien," immortalized by his disturbing death scene, which Mel Brooks later poked fun at with Hurt's help in "Spaceballs."