“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.” — John Hurt
John Vincent Hurt was born on this day in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England in 1940. Today is his 74th birthday.
His movie career dates back over 50 years (starting with Young and Willing), but his first serious role was in 1966’s A Man for All Seasons. He earned Best Supporting Actor BAFTA nomination for his work as Timothy Evans in the film. He worked steadily through the lat 60’s and early 70’s. In 1971 he won a BAFTA for his best supporting work in 10 Rillington Place. and another, for best Actor, for The Naked Civil Servant in 1975
In 1976 he co-starred in the BBC drama I, Claudius as the debauched Roman emperor Caligula. In 1978 he won a Golden Glob and BAFTA (and an Academy Award nomination) for his work in Midnight Express. The same year he did the voice work for Hazel in animated film Watership Down (he later played General Woundwort for the TV series) and Aragorn in the animated The Lord of the Rings. He rounded out the decade by playing the ill-fated Kane in the Sci Fi classic Alien and Raskolnikov in the BBC’s Crime and Punishment.
The Elephant Man brought him another BAFTA (and Golden Globe and Oscar noms.) In 1983 he starred in The Osterman Weekend and was the Fool to Olivier’s King Lear.
In 1984 (the year) he starred in 1984 (the movie) as Winston. 15 years later, having learned his lesson that 2 + 2 = 5, he flipped roles and played Big Brother (on-screen) for the Paper Zoo Theatre Company’s production of the Orwell novel.
Besides his voice work younger audiences will recognize Hurt as Mr. Ollivander from the Harry Potter series.