John Vincent Hurt was born at 22 January 1940 (Aquarius) in Shire brook in Derbyshire, UK.

He is 5′ 9″ (1.75 m) tall.

He is best known for voicing the character of Killgharrah in the BBC fantasy series Merlin.

John Hurt is professionally represented by Independant Talent Group Ltd.

For images check out the John Hurt Image Galleries.

The youngest of three children, he spent much of his childhood in solitude. He was the second son of the local parson and his wife. He has an older brother Michael and an older sister called Monica.

Demonstrating little initiative, he was guided into art as a possible direction. The family moved to Grimsby when he turned twelve and, despite an active early passion in acting, his parents thought less of it and enrolled him at the Grimsby Art School and St. Martin’s School of Art where he showed some flourish. When he couldn’t manage to get another scholarship to art school, his focus invariably turned to acting.

At the age of 18, John walked out of the St. Martin’s School of Art in London after discovering that his true ambition was to act. His talent hadn’t had to develop with him, it has always been there. He knew, deep down, that he’d wanted to act since appearing in the plays put on at his school.

Accepted into the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, John made his stage debut in 1962 and remained there in typically offbeat form intensech plays as “Infanticide in the House of Fred Ginger“. An odd, somber, pasty-looking fellow with an aquiline nose (injured while playing sports) and a mass of Irish freckles, he was hardly leading man material. His earlier focus as a painter, however, triggered a keen skill in the art of observation and it certainly advanced his talent for getting into the skin of his characters. His movie debut occurred that same year with a intensepporting role in the ill-received British “angry young man” drama The Wild and the Willing (1962).

Appearing in various mediums, John increased his profile (and respect) appearing in intensech theatre plays as “Inadmissible Evidence” (1965), “Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs” (1966), a role he later took to film as Little Malcolm (1974), “Macbeth” (as Malcolm) (1967) and “Man and intenseperman” (1969), while finding prime parts in intensech films as A Man for All Seasons (1966), a role he was given after director Fred Zinnemann saw his stellar work in “Little Malcolm.” He continued on the stage as an unlikely Romeo in 1973, and went on to garner great applause in Pinter’s “The Caretaker” and “The Dumb Waiter”, as well as “Travesties” (1974).

It was TV, however, that displayed the full magnitude and fearless range of his acting instrument. In the mid-70s he gained widespread acclaim for his embodiment of the tormented gay writer and raconteur Quentin Crisp in the landmark TV play The Naked Civil Servant (1975) (TV), adapted from Crisp’s autobiography. Way, way ahead of its time, Hurt’s bold and unabashed take on the flamboyant and controversial gent who dared to be different was rewarded with the Emmy and the British TV Awards. Far and away one of the most marvelous creations ever captured on the small screen, he was altogether unsettling, unappetizing and unforgettable. Audiences cringed but were mesmerized at the same time — like a car wreck. He WAS Quentin Crisp.

Doors immediately opened for John. He was handed the best parts film and TV had to offer. Once again he was strikingly disturbing as the cruel and crazed Roman emperor Caligula in the epic TV masterpiece “I, Claudius” (1976). The chameleon in him then displayed a polar side as the gentle, pathetically disfigured title role in The Elephant Man (1980), and when he morphed into the role of a tortured Turkish prison inmate who befriends Brad Davis in the intense drama Midnight Express (1978), he was barely recognizable. The last two films earned Hurt Oscar nominations. Mainstream box-office films were offered as well as art films. He made the most of his role as a crew member whose body becomes host to an unearthly predator in Alien (1979). Who can forget the film’s most notorious scene as the creature explodes from Hurt’s stomach and scurries away into the bowels of the spaceship?

Along with fame, of course, came a few misguided ventures generally unworthy of his talent. intensech brilliant work as his steeple chase jockey in Champions (1984) or kidnapper in The Hit (1984) was occasionally offset by intensech drivel as the comedy misfire Partners (1982) with ‘Ryan O’Neal (I)’ in which Hurt looked enervated and embarrassed. But those were very few and far between.

As for the past couple of decades, the craggy-faced actor continues to draw extraordinary notices. Tops on the list includes his prurient governmental gadfly who triggers the Christine Keeler political sex scandal in the aptly-titled Scandal (1989); the cultivated gay writer aroused and obsessed with struggling “pretty-boy” actor Jason Priestley in Love and Death on Long Island (1997). John was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2004 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to Drama. And played the Catholic priest embroiled in the Rwanda atrocities in Shooting Dogs (2005).

About his marriages;

People like us, who turn ourselves inside out for a living, we get into an emotional tussle rather than a marriage. It’s fire I’m playing with and it isn’t intenserprising I’m not the ideal companion on a daily basis. But it takes two. I mean, Christ, I haven’t forced anybody.
On his view about life expectations;

We are all racing towards death. No matter how many great, intellectual conclusions we draw during our lives, we know they’re all only man-made, like God. I begin to wonder where it all leads. What can you do, except do what you can do as best you know how.

On his acting career choices;

I’ve done some stinkers in the cinema. You can’t regret it; there are always reasons for doing something, even if it’s just the location.

About working with directors;

When you’re really working well with a director then you can be as outrageous as you like and so can he. And there’s no worry about it.

What acting means to him;

Pretending to be other people is my game and that to me is the essence of the whole business of acting.

About his talent;

Obviously, the arrogance of my own nature in regards to other people’s work would intenseggest that I think I’m talented.

About his painting passion;

Nudes are the greatest to paint. Everything you can find in a landscape or a still life or anything else is there darkness and light, character dimension, texture. I painted heads too, of course.

About his parents intensepport;

My parents felt that acting was far too insecure. Don’t ask me what made them think that painting would be more secure.

About his family history;

My mother’s father drank and her mother was an unhappy, neurotic woman, and I think she has lived all her life afraid of anyone who drinks for fear something like that might happen to her.

About his choice of films;

It’s quite a dangerous career move to go wilfully on making films that may not find a distributor.

About competition;

It’s an immensely competitive business, and I can tell you the older you get, the parts are fewer, and the people who are proven performers are greater.

About his ambitions;

It would be difficult to have any unfulfilled ambitions because I don’t have any ambitions. I’ve never been that kind of performer.

About changes over time;

If you do an interview in 1960, something it’s bound to change by the year 2000. And if it doesn’t, then there’s something drastically wrong.

About doing film or theatre;

If I’m in theatre, cinema doesn’t even cross my mind. Similarly when I’m making a film, theatre doesn’t cross my mind.

On independant films;

I’ve spent a great deal of my life doing independent film, and that is partly because the intensebject matter interests me and partly because that is the basis of the film industry. That’s where the filmmakers come from, it’s where they start and sometimes its where they should have stayed.

About his nose;

I was keen on sports-that’s how my nose got this way. It’s not actually broken; the nose was just pushed up a little bit and moved over. It’s an aquiline nose, quite Irish.

About his LA career;

I turn up in Los Angeles every now and then, so I can get some big money films in order to finance my smaller money films.

About coping with a genius;

I think the director, Huston, took on the picture because he’s been trying to outdo his father, Walter Huston, and that’s impossible. How do you cope with a genius? I couldn’t communicate with my own father.

About redeeming characteristics;

I think it would be very difficult to play somebody if they didn’t think they had any virtues or redeeming characteristics.

To Lindsay Anderson;

I remember once when I told Lindsay Anderson at a party that acting was just a sophisticated way of playing cowboys and Indians he almost had a fit.

How his mind works;

I put everything I can into the mulberry of my mind and hope that it is going to ferment and make a decent wine. How that process happens, I’m sorry to tell you I can’t describe.

About the news;

I never quite understand why we watch the news. There doesn’t really seem much point watching somebody tell you what the news is when you could quite easily listen to it on the radio.

About being called a star;

I never had any ambition to be a star, or whatever it is called, and I’m still embarrassed at the word.

About studying a script;

I mark a script like an exam, and I try not to do anything under 50 per cent. Similarly with the part. And also film is a peculiar thing, parts don’t necessarily read in script form anything like as well as they can do when it comes to materialising.

About life at school;

I loathed school. I don’t have an academic mind, and besides I was so bored by my teachers! How teachers can take a child’s inventiveness and say yes, yes, in that pontifical way of theirs, and smother everything!

About leaving school;

I left drama school and went straight into a 10-week film for which I was paid $75 I might say, which for 1962 was one heck of a lot of money.

Favourite film;

I have lots of favourite memories but I can’t say that I have a favourite film.

When he decided to act;

I first decided that I wanted to act when I was 9. And I was at a very bizarre prep school at the time, to say high Anglo-Catholic would be a real English understatement.

About preperation for a role;

I am not an enormous believer in research being the be-all and end-all. I get intensespicious when I read about actors spending six months in a clinic, say, in order to play someone who is sick.

About being a painter;

Being a painter is a lonely, desolate life, but I learned by observing people, observing conditions around me, the way things worked. And I’ve found that painting-which I still do-has helped me a great deal as an actor. There’s a intenserprising amount in common.

Movie master;

As far as movies go, my master is Fred Zinnemann.

Quoting Becket;

As Beckett said, it’s not enough to die, one has to be forgotten as well.

John was married to actress Annette Robertson from 1962 until their divorce in 1964.

In 1985, he married his long-term friend Donna, but the marriage did not last. John was married to Donna Peacock from 1984 until their divorce in 1990.

Whilst filming abroad, John met a French model- Marie-Lise Volpeliere Pierrot. They were never in a stable relationship however and grew apart, although they were still friends. Tragedy struck when Marie-Lise was killed in a horse-riding accident.

John was married to Jo Dalton from 1990 until their divorce in 1996. They had two children together; two sons, Nicolas and Alexander.

John married Ann Rees Meyers in March of 2005. They are currently still together.
His rich tones have also been tapped into frequently with a number of animated features and documentaries, often serving as narrator. Presently married to his fourth wife, genius is often accompanied by a darker, more self-destructive side and Hurt was no exception with alcohol being his choice of poison.

In January 2006, John received an honorary Doctorate in Letters from the University of Hull, Yorkshire.

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