Entertainment Celebrity Russell Crowe leads tributes as Oscar winner William Hurt dies aged 71
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Russell Crowe leads tributes as Oscar winner William Hurt dies aged 71

Hurt was nominated for an Oscar for his role in Broadcast News. Source: 20th Century Fox

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Tributes are flowing in for William Hurt on news of the Oscar-winning actor’s death at the age of 71.

Hurt died a week before his 72nd birthday peacefully and of natural causes, according to a statement shared online by his son Will.

Hurt’s fellow Best Actor Oscar-winner Russell Crowe reflected on his experience starring with him as the titular hero in Sir Ridley Scott’s 2010 film Robin Hood.

“On Robin Hood, I was aware of his reputation for asking character based questions, so I had compiled a file on the life of [Hurt’s character] William Marshall,” Crowe tweeted.

“He sought me out when he arrived on set. I handed him the stack. Not sure if I’ve ever seen a bigger smile. RIP.”

Marvel described Hurt – who portrayed US Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross in five of the Disney franchise’s superhero movies – as “an amazing talent”.

Actor and director Ben Stiller said he hoped Hurt, who befriended Stiller’s father Jerry in 1984 when the pair starred together in the original Broadway production of David Rabe’s Hurlyburly, was “having a laugh somewhere now” with Stiller’s deceased parents Jerry and Anne Meara.

“He was so kind to my sister and I. He spent time at our apartment, and came to visit my parents up in Nantucket. He would talk to us about acting, and the crest or process. He talked to us as if we were adults, not kids of his friend. He made a huge impact on both of us,” Stiller tweeted.

The veteran actor found a new generation of fans after he first played Ross opposite Edward Norton in the 2008 movie Incredible Hulk, then later reprised the role for performances in Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame and Black Widow.

But it was his efforts decades earlier which brought him critical acclaim – he was nominated for the best actor Oscar three years running for Kiss Of The Spider Woman in 1985, Children Of A Lesser God in 1986 and Broadcast News in 1987.

He won the best actor Oscar and the BAFTA for Kiss Of The Spider Woman.

Hurt won a Best Actor Oscar for 1985's The Kiss of the Spider Woman


Other members of the movie industry described Hurt’s death as a “major loss” and shared personal experiences of working with him.

Fellow Marvel star Mark Ruffalo wrote: “Wow, another Major loss to the acting community. Great actor. Great mind. RIP.”

Comedian Patton Oswalt said Hurt was “a beyond brilliant film and stage actor”.

“Then he went and guested on The King Of Queens and was so deadpan, low-key hilarious. ‘This is good cake. And I’m not a cake guy.’ RIP.” he wrote.

US actor Albert Brooks, who appeared alongside him in Broadcast News, wrote: “RIP William Hurt. So sad to hear this news. Working with him on Broadcast News was amazing. He will be greatly missed.”

Author Stephen King said on Twitter: “Very sorry to hear about the passing of William Hurt. He was a fine actor, an Academy Award winner. He also did a classic reading of my story “Low Men in Yellow Coats,” from HEARTS IN ATLANTIS. I loved hitchhiking on his immense talent.”

That 70s Show star Topher Grace said on Twitter: “Grateful that I had the opportunity to work with William Hurt. I admired his acting so much and watching his commitment in person was remarkable. My thoughts are with his family.”

-with AAP