The actor William Hurt, known for his performances in films like Body Heat and The Big Chill, has died at the age of 71. The news was confirmed on Sunday, March 13th. Hurt’s death came amid natural causes.
The news was announced as his son, Will, wrote: “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.”
After beginning his screen acting career in the late 1970s, the star quickly rose to fame with his acclaimed lead role alongside Kathleen Turner in Body Heat in 1981. He then went on to land an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading role for Hector Babenco’s adaptation of Kiss of the Spiderwoman.
Performances like these made him one of the most celebrated actors of the 1980s, but Hurt always tried to eschew fame, focussing instead on his work and always remaining very particular about the roles he took.
As he told the New York Times in 1989 when he took a step back from acting: “It’s not right that my privacy is invaded to the extent that it is. I’m a very private man, and I have the right to be. I never said that because I was an actor you can have my privacy, you can steal my soul. You can’t.”
Over the course of his career, he was nominated for an impressive four Oscars. As director M. Night Shyamalan wrote: “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 craft. Every take was new and revealing.”
In the latter years of his career, he settled into the archetype of a supporting actor, shunning the limelight and revelling in the world of portraying various interesting scene-stealing characters.
He has been remembered by those in the industry and his friends and family beyond as a joy to work with and be around.