After the flood of incidents last year that culminated in the death of Carrie Fisher, I decided that I would no longer write obituaries. Instead, I will celebrate his life and the roles that helped shape my fandom. Richard Rich (A Man for All Seasons)
One of John Hurt’s first roles, Hurt played Richard Rich. Hurt portrayed him as a man consumed by his ambition and willing to compromise his integrity for the sake of that ambition and the trappings of power. As subtle a performance as it was, he is able to hold his own on the screen amongst heavyweights like Paul Scofield and Robert Shaw.
Hurt plays the role of Kane, Executive Officer of the Nostromo. The role, while short on dialogue, leads to one of the most iconic scenes in movie history.
The Storyteller (The Storyteller)
This ambitious anthology series, created and produced by John Henson, brought to life various folk tales and stories from all over the world and used different kinds of animation and live action to bring the stories to life. John Hurt played the Storyteller, who would frame every episode and was portrayed as a sage, otherworldly character.
Mr. Ollivander (Harry Potter Series)
Taking on another iconic role, John Hurt embodied Mr. Ollivander. The proprietor of the preeminent wand shop in Diagon Alley, Ollivander helps to shepherd young Harry Potter into the wizarding world by helping him find his wand. Ollivander would return to close out the character on-screen in the final film as well.
Professor Broom (Hellboy)
John Hurt plays Professor Trevor Broom who is both mentor and father figure to Hellboy. His paternal love for his often wayward charge is evident in the scenes that he shares with Ron Perlman’s character. The tragedy of the character’s final scene is both sad and heroic as Broom is willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of his “son”.
John Hurt will be remembered for the body of work that he leaves behind. Work that spans genre, subjects and generations. He will be missed.