William Hurt: 5 Things On Oscar-Winning Actor Dead at 71

William Hurt has died, according to a statement from his son Will. The 'Kiss of the Spider Woman' star was 71 years old.

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Oscar-winning actor William Hurt, known for his leading dramatic roles on both the stage and screen, has died at the age of 71. Born in 1950, his celebrated career spanned decades and won him Oscar, Tony, and Golden Globe nominations in the process.

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Oscar-winning actor William Hurt has died at the age of 71. (Rich Fury/Invision/AP/Shutterstock)

William’s son Will announced the tragedy in a statement from the family, sharing: 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.” Learn more about William’s long and illustrious career, here.

He’s an Oscar-winning actor 

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William Hurt won an Oscar in 1985 for his role in ‘Kiss of the Spider Woman.’ (Ladd Company/Warner Bros/Kobal/Shutterstock)

William’s long career has seen him nominated for multiple Academy Awards, and evening bringing home a win for 1985’s Kiss Of The Spider Woman. In the iconic film, William starred opposite Raul Julia and Sonia Braga in the drama, set in dictatorship-era Brazil. William played the role of Luis Molina, a gay man sharing a prison cell with Raul’s character Valentin Arregui, a leftist activist who has been tortured for his political involvements. The duo develop a complicated, and eventually romantic, relationship while struggling to survive the mental and spiritual toll of prison. The film, and William’s portrayal of Luis, were widely lauded, and William also won a BAFTA award for his performance.

Back in the 1980s, at one point William received three consecutive Oscar nominations in a row, starting with a win for Kiss of The Spider Woman. He was then nominated for Children of a Lesser God in 1986, and Broadcast News in 1987. Decades later William would receive a fourth nomination for his role in David Cronenberg’s acclaimed film noir A History Of Violence. William was nominated for best supporting actor for his role in the tense crime thriller, starring alongside Viggo Mortensen, Ed Harris, and Maria Bello.

He’s also been nominated for a Tony award

William hasn’t limited his refined acting talents to the screen and is also an acclaimed stage actor. He’s starred Off-Broadway in classic Shakespeare productions like Henry V, Richard II, and A Midsummer Nights Dream. William also received a Tony nomination for his work on Broadway in the 1985 dark comedy Hurlyburly, which references Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

He studied at Julliard alongside some famous peers 

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William Hurt has performed as Henry V and Richard II Off-Broadway. (Moviestore/Shutterstock)

After initially pursuing theology at Tufts University, William switched to acting in the 1970s. William further pursued further training at the infamous Julliard School in Manhattan, graduating from the Drama Division in 1976. Among William’s esteemed classmates? Fellow iconic actors Christopher Reeve and Robin Williams, who passed away in 2004 and 2014, respectively.

Younger fans may know him from his role in the MCU 

Though many of William’s most iconic dramatic roles happened decades ago, younger fans will recognize the actor from his role as General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. One of the military personnel present when Bruce Banner first transforms into The Hulk, William played the begrudgingly heroic general in five Marvel films, including The Incredible HulkCaptain America: Civil WarAvengers: Infinity WarAvengers: Endgame. Most recently, William took on the role alongside Scarlett Johannson and Florence Pugh in Black Widow.

He leaves behind 4 children, and a complicated romantic past

With his passing, William leaves behind four children: Will Hurt, 31, Samuel Hurt, 32, Alexander Devon Hurt, 39, and Jeanne Bonnaire-Hurt, 28. William shares Alexander with former partner Sandra Jennings, Will and Samuel with ex-wife Heidi Henderson, and Jeanne with director and screenwriter Sandrine Bonnaire.

After splitting from his first wife Mary Beth Hurt in 1982, William also spent a year in a relationship with actress Marlee Matlin, from 1985 to 1986. Marlee and William’s relationship was far from perfect, and Marlee even accused him of assault in her 2010 memoir I’ll Scream Later. 

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