I was truly saddened to hear about the death of Sir John Hurt. He was without doubt one of the best British actors ever to appear on the big and small screens, lending his vast talent and distinctive voice to everything from warm and cosy animations to heart-shattering biopics in the course of a career that spanned six decades. Hurt didn’t simply portray the characters he played on film, TV and stage, he transformed into them, pulling on their flesh and slipping into their minds as easily as you or I would slip into a pair of trainers. It was this extraordinary gift that enabled him to bring us so many diverse and memorable roles, from his earliest performances in ‘A Man for All Seasons,’ and ’10 Rillington Place’ to his iconic role as John Merrick in ‘The Elephant Man’ and his profound embodiment of the legendary writer and activist Quentin Crisp in the TV biopics ‘The Naked Civil Servant’ and ‘An Englishman In New York.’ He will be remembered by sci-fi connoisseurs across the globe for playing Kane in Ridley Scott’s classic ‘Alien’ and Winston Smith in the silver screen adaptation of ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four.’ He also managed to solidify his place in the consciousness of a new generation of film and television fans as Mr Olivander in the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise and the War Doctor in the 50th anniversary episodes of ‘Doctor Who.’
Hurt’s prolific and unpredictable career saw him flit from gritty dramas to popcorn movies, constantly reinventing himself with each new picture. An outstanding actor whose passing has affected thousands of film-buffs, TV-lovers and theatre-goers the world over, but the sorrow we feel after his loss can be instantly soothed as we remember the great man’s amazing body of work that will render him forever immortal.