American actor William Hurt, known for much-loved films such as “The Big Chill” and “A History of Violence,” has passed away. He was 71. Multiple outlets cited Hurt’s son, Will, who said in a statement: “It is with great sadness that the Hurt family mourns the passing of William Hurt, beloved father and Oscar-winning actor, on March 13, 2022, one week before his 72nd birthday. He died peacefully, among family, of natural causes.”
The actor had been diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer in May 2018, but his son’s statement did not specify whether the disease contributed to Hurt’s passing. Hurt built his reputation on his willingness to play quirky and unusual characters such as a Russian police officer in “Gorky Park” (1983), a wealthy and aloof husband in Woody Allen’s “Alice” (1990) and a man seeking to build a machine that would benefit blind people in “Until the End of the World” (1991). His first film role was as an obsessed scientist in Ken Russell’s 1980 film “The Altered States.”
Appearing opposite Kathleen Turner in Body Heat in 1981 turned him into a sex symbol, and he won the best actor Oscar in 1985 for playing a gay prisoner in “Kiss of the Spider Woman.” Hurt was also nominated for Oscars as a teacher of deaf students in “Children of a Lesser God” (1986) and as a slow-witted television anchorman in “Broadcast News” (1987). For his second Academy Award, Hurt played a Philadelphia mobster in David Cronenberg’s “A History of Violence.” He appears in the film for only about 10 minutes, but he made a huge impact with critics, who praised his “creepy” and “funny” character.
In recent years, Hurt made himself known to younger moviegoers through his turn in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Thaddeus Ross, a blustering general who was present on the day Bruce Banner became the Hulk. In addition to “The Incredible Hulk,” Hurt’s character appeared in four Marvel films including “Captain America: Civil War,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Avengers: Endgame” and “Black Widow.”