You’ve Been Watching John Hurt In Awesome Genre Movies Since You Were A Kid

British actor John Hurt had a career that began in 1962 and continued right up until his death, this Friday, at the age of 77. One of his most recent movies, Jackie, is up for three awards at this year’s Oscars and four more films starring Hurt are set to be released in 2017. The actor seemed to have a special fondness for sci-fi and fantasy, evident in the long list of really great genre movies on his CV. Here are just a few of the ones we love him for:




As Kane, Executive Officer of the USCSS Nostromo, Hurt was the actor brave enough to get face-hugged and chest-bursted by Ridley Scott’s terrifying baby xenomorph in the 1979 movie that kicked off the Alien franchise.




Spoofing his epic chest-busting scene in Alien, the actor played himself in Mel Brooks’ space comedy, spawning a second xenomorph that sings and high-steps to ‘Hello! My Baby’. Hurt’s amazing last words? “Not again!”


Doctor Who


Hurt joined Matt Smith and David Tennant for three episodes in the 2013/14 seasons of Doctor Who to play The War Doctor, a pre-Christoper Eccleston/post-Paul McGann incarnation of the Doctor said to be responsible for ending the Time War.


Harry Potter


Making his first appearance in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Hurt played Garrick Ollivander, the half-blood wand maker whose Diagon Alley shop sold the best wands in the world. He returned to the role for both chapters of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.




This Park Chan-wook-produced sci-fi thriller is based on a true story. Okay, not a true story but a true thing (climate change, FYI). In it, we glimpse our future: all of humanity forever stuck on a train because we messed with the planet (that thing we only have one of) one too many times. The movie features some incredible Tilda Swinton and a very hardworking Hurt who has to hobble around on crutches on a perpetually moving and rocking train.


Only Lovers Left Alive


Hurt played a vampiric Christopher Marlowe, casting new (very funny) doubts on Shakespeare’s body of work in Jim Jarmusch’s dark, cool 2013 horror/comedy.




As occult expert Prof. Trevor “Broom” Bruttenholm in both of Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy movies, Hurt helped make the titular monstrous superhero into a sympathetic character you could root for.


The Elephant Man

John Hurt as The Elephant Man

Hurt’s turn as John Merrick in this David Lynch film earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor—one of eight received by the movie in total—an incredible feat considering that he could barely tell what he was doing under the eight hours’ worth of prosthetics he had to wear for the role.




Hurt starred alongside Richard Burton in the excellent film adaptation of the ultimate dystopian tale (not counting the one we’re currently living in), George Orwell’s classic, 1984. If you’re going to commemorate Hurt’s career by watching one of his movies this weekend, this is the one we recommend. Because, timely.