John Hurt (1940 – 2017)


Ola: Sir John Hurt – who hadn’t seen him? Unforgettable Elephant Man, Ollivander from Harry Potter franchise, the dictator Adam Sutler from V for Vendetta and Winston Smith from 1984, Kane from Alien – and from Spaceballs – Trevor ‘Broom’ Bruttenholm from Hellboy, Controller from Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Gilliam from Snowpiercer and, for one-hour special episode (and a little bit more, to be precise), War Doctor from Doctor Who. And many more, of course. He was the rare actor who with equal dedication and equanimity accepted roles in contemporary dramas, costume movies, horrors and science fiction flicks. And his presence was always felt.

His face seemed completely innocent and wisely sad – up to a point when something shifted and you were looking madness in the face. He died a thousand deaths, more and less gruesome, but the one that went straight into the annals of cinematic history was the death of Kane, the first human victim of Alien.

Piotrek: And his Doctor, a short-lived one, not even having his own number, was powerful. Weary, lonely, determined to fight the good fight even when it breaks him and forces to cross the lines none of the earlier – or later – Doctors were ready to cross. And you can see that when you look at him.


I remember him best from his later performances, for me he will always be a wise, sad man, not a hero’s mentor like Gandalf or Obi Wan, but a noble voice from the failed past.

On the lighter (kind of…) note, here’s a compilation of his death scenes, no less impressive than Sean Bean’s. 

We’ll miss you, Elephant Man.

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