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."

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