Legendary British actor John Hurt dies aged 77

The entertainment world pays tribute to the veteran performer famed for his roles in The Elephant Man, Midnight Express, Alien, Harry Potter, Doctor Who and many more

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Sir John Hurt – star of Doctor Who, Alien and the Harry Potter films amongst many others – has died aged 77.

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His agent confirmed to the BBC that the veteran actor died on Friday in London after battling pancreatic cancer since 2015.

His phenomenal six-decade career on TV, stage and film earned Hurt many awards, including four BAFTAs, a Golden Globe and two nominations for an Academy Award (Best Supporting Actor in Midnight Express, and Best Actor in The Elephant Man).

Doctor Who fans will remember Hurt as The War Doctor, the ‘forgotten’ incarnation of the Time Lord that played a vital role during the show’s 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor. It was a character Hurt reprised for a series of Big Finish audio dramas. 

He was also fondly remembered as Gilbert Kane in Alien, the unforgettable first victim of the titular monster.

And wizards and muggles alike will remember the actor as Garrick Ollivander, the wand-maker in four films of the Harry Potter series (Philosopher’s Stone, Goblet of Fire, and both parts of The Deathly Hallows).

Hurt first rose to prominence in a supporting role in 1966’s A Man for All Seasons. He then had a variety of film roles, including Timothy Evans in 1971’s John Christie drama 10 Rillington Place, for which he earned his first Bafta nomination.

Hurt would go on to star in movies such as V for Vendetta, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. He was also an accomplished voice actor, lending his distinctive rich tones to animations like Watership Down and 1978’s The Lord of the Rings.

BAFTA celebrated his long-stretching film career in 2012, presenting him with its Outstanding Contribution award. Hurt was also knighted in the 2015 New Year Honours List for his contribution to drama.

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Friends and co-stars of Hurt have paid tribute to the “truly magnificent talent”: