Hollywood Reacts to John Hurt's Death

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John Hurt

"He was a truly magnificent talent," Mel Brooks wrote on Twitter.

Mel Brooks, Chris Evans, Stephen Colbert and more stars took to Twitter Friday to mourn the death of British actor John Hurt, who passed away at the age of 77 after battling pancreatic cancer.

The two-time Oscar nominee's six-decade career included roles in the BBC’s Doctor WhoMidnight Express, for which he earned an Oscar nomination; three Harry Potter films; Ridley Scott's Alien; and David Lynch's The Elephant Man, for which Hurt earned his second Oscar nom.

On screens big and small, Hurt died what seemed a thousand deaths. "I think I’ve got the record," he once said. "It got to a point where my children wouldn’t ask me if I died, but rather, 'How do you die?' "

One of his most memorable moments came when he played Kane, the first victim in Alien, in which Hurt collapses over a table and a snakelike alien bursts out of his chest. (How'd they do that? There was an artificial chest screwed to the table, and Hurt was underneath.)

Hurt was also an accomplished stage actor who performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. In 1994, he starred opposite Helen Mirren in Bill Bryden’s West End production of A Month in the Country, and he scraped out an edgy and vigorously dour performance in Samuel Beckett’s autobiographical one-man drama Krapp’s Last Tape in 1999.

When asked about the difference between film and stage acting, Hurt explained: “It’s rather like two different sports. You use two completely different sets of muscles.”

Support from Hurt's fans came pouring in on social media following the news of his death, with longtime fans and fellow celebs offering their condolences.

Oscar winner Helen Mirren, who co-starred with Hurt in Brighton Rock, told THR in a statement, "John Hurt, kind, non-judgmental, fragile, like an alpine flower that trembles in the freezing wind, but tenaciously holds on and survives. He wore his humanity on his sleeve, and this was one of the qualities that made him into the great actor he was. He also had a core of great strength and humor that made him able to face the world and achieve so much. We will miss you, dear colleague."

Natalie Portman also mourned her Jackie co-star in a statement: "I'm so extremely sad to hear of John's passing. I was lucky enough to make two films with him — both of which were taken to the next level because of his performances. He was the most talented actor, and also a deeply good and funny and poetic and smart and warm human being. I send my love to his family at this terrible time, and join his fans in watching his films that we are lucky enough to have forever."

See more reactions to his passing on social media below.

 

Sir John. Pop. Devastated....

A photo posted by Ron Perlman (@perlmutations) on

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