William Hurt

Born: 20 March 1950 (70 years old)
Gender: Male



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William Hurt is an American actor best known for his roles in film.

Early Life

Born in Washington, D.C., Hurt is the stepson of Henry Luce III (the son of the founder of Time Magazine).

Hurt graduated from Middlesex School in 1968 where he was the Vice President of the Dramatics Club and had the lead role in several of the school plays. His high school yearbook predicted, "With characteristics such as these, you might even see him on Broadway."

Hurt attended Tufts University and studied theology, but turned instead to acting and joined the Juilliard Drama School, studying alongside Christopher Reeve.


Hurt appeared first on stage, only later turning to film. His first major role was in the sci-fi hit Altered States (1980) which gave him wide recognition for playing an emotionally obsessed scientist.

He received the Academy Award for Best Actor for Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1985.

He received three additional nominations, one for Children of a Lesser God (1986), one for Broadcast News (1987) and one for A History Of Violence (2005).

Often cast as an intellectual, Hurt has put this to good use in many films like Lost in Space and The Big Chill, but he is also effective in other kinds of roles like I Love You to Death, and David Cronenberg's psychological drama A History of Violence (2005), wherein, with less than 10 minutes of screen time, he plays the creepy mob boss Richie Cusack.

That same year, Hurt could be seen as a mysterious government operative in Stephen Gaghan's ensemble drama about the politics of Big Oil, Syriana.

Hurt has most recently been seen in the mini-series adaptation of Stephen King's Nightmares and Dreamscapes, in a piece entitled Battleground; he plays "Renshaw", a hitman who receives a package from the widow of a toymaker he killed, unaware of what is waiting inside for him.

He has also appeared in the mini-series The Best of Families (1977), Dune (2000) and Frankenstein (2004).

Aside from those mini-series, Hurt has had limited television exposure, concentrating his career on film instead.

He guest starred on two episodes of Kojak in 1977 (his screen debut) and in one episode of The King Of Queens in 2002, and had a role in the Canadian series Rivière-des-Jérémie in 2001.

Rounding out his television career, Hurt has appeared in the following made-for-TV movies:

Verna: USO Girl (1978)
All the Way Home (1981)
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1982)
The Flamingo Rising (2001)
Varian's War (2001)
Master Spy: The Robert Hanssen Story (2002)
Hunt for Justice (2005)

Private Life

Fluent in French, Hurt maintains a home outside Paris.

He has a daughter with actress Sandrine Bonnaire and a son with Sandra Jennings, who sued Hurt in the late 1980s claiming she was his common-law wife. Hurt won the case.

He was previously married to Mary Beth Hurt from 1971 to 1982 and lived with Marlee Matlin for a period in 1986.

Hurt has two sons from his 1989-92 marriage to Heidi Henderson.


Hurt has appeared (or will appear) in the following feature films to date:

Altered States (1980)
Eyewitness (1981)
Body Heat (1981)
The Big Chill (1983)
Gorky Park (1983)
Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)
Children of a Lesser God (1986)
Broadcast News (1987)
A Time of Destiny (1988)
The Accidental Tourist (1988)
I Love You to Death (1990)
Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing and Charm School (1990) (voice)
Alice (1990)
The Doctor (1991)
Until the End of the World (1991)
The Plague (1992)
Mr. Wonderful (1993)
Secrets Shared with a Stranger (1994)
Trial by Jury (1994)
Second Best (1994)
Smoke (1995)
Jane Eyre (1996)
A Couch in New York (1996)
Michael (1996)
Loved (1997)
Dark City (1998)
The Proposition (1998)
Lost in Space (1998)
One True Thing (1998)
The 4th Floor (1999)
The Big Brass Ring (1999)
Sunshine (1999)
Do Not Disturb (1999)
The Simian Line (2000)
The Miracle Maker (2000) (voice)
The Contaminated Man (2000)
Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001)
Rare Birds (2001)
Changing Lanes (2002)
Nearest to Heaven (2002)
Tuck Everlasting (2002)
The Blue Butterfly (2004)
The Village (2004)
The King (2005)
A History of Violence (2005)
Neverwas (2005)
Syriana (2005)
The Legend of Sasquatch (2006) (voice)
Beautiful Ohio (2006)
The Good Shepherd (2006)
Noise (2007)
Mr. Brooks (2007)
Into the Wild (2007)
Vantage Point (2007)
Yellow Handkerchief (2008)

Television Roles



Professor Allen Hobby

Doyle's Sponsor

Daniel Purcell

Duke Leto Atreides

Dr. George Millican


Dr. Taber


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