The Oscar-winning American actor William Hurt has sadly passed away at the age of 71. Hurt was more recently known for his roles in the MCU, where he played General Thaddeus Ross across five Marvel movies. The performer enjoyed a swell of critical success in the ’80s for his work on popular drama movies such as Kiss of the Spider Woman and Children of a Lesser God, winning an Oscar for the former.
The news of Hurt’s passing comes as something of a shock, with no known illness or condition causing the death. Deadline quoted Hurt’s son, Will, as saying, “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 family requests privacy at this time,” Hurt’s son added. Since the news broke late last night, tributes to the veteran actor have poured in from his colleagues and friends in Hollywood.
With the Oscars approaching, it’s fitting to mention that Hurt received Best Actor nominations for three consecutive years from 1985 to 1987, for his roles in Kiss of a Spider Woman, Children of a Lesser God, and Broadcast News. Hurt won the Oscar for Best Actor in 1985.
This incredible achievement was crowned in 2005, when he received a fourth nomination for his role in the action movie A History of Violence. Hurt also appeared in popular sci-fi movies such as Lost in Space and Steven Spielberg’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence.
The actor will probably be better known in today’s cinematic landscape for his work in the Marvel Universe as Thaddeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross. Hurt first appeared in The Incredible Hulk in 2008, and went on to return again in Captain America: Civil War, two Avengers movies, and 2021’s Black Widow.
Among the tributes on social media to the actor, M. Night Shyamalan recalls working with Hurt on his horror movie The Village, describing him as “a master of his acting craft.” Russell Crowe, Stephen King, and Mark Ruffalo also voiced their condolences online.
I’m so sad to hear of the passing of William Hurt. I had the privilege of directing him in The Village. He was a master of his acting craft. Every take was new and revealing. #rip
— M. Night Shyamalan ⌛ (@MNightShyamalan) March 13, 2022
It is worth noting, however, that Hurt was also the subject of alleged abuse and sexual assault. Marlee Matlin, who won an Oscar for her role opposite Hurt in the 1987 movie Children of a Lesser God, filed reports of rape against Hurt, with the two romantically involved at the time.
In her 2010 memoir, Matlin describes her two-year relationship with Hurt with distressing details, signalling a pattern of both physical and emotional abuse. At the time, the allegations were largely downplayed, but details have resurfaced upon Hurt’s passing.