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John Hurt (1940 - 2017)

Niklas Halle'n / AFP / Getty Images

John Hurt (1940 - 2017)

John Hurt, the acclaimed English character actor who starred in “The Elephant Man,” died Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, according to multiple news sources. He was 77.

In 2015, the actor announced he was undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer.

Hurt, whose prolific career stretched for six decades across stage, film, and television, was known for playing offbeat characters whose stories were tinged with darkness. He was almost unrecognizable under prosthetic makeup in his Academy Award-nominated performance as John Merrick, the deformed 19th-century Englishman whose life story was depicted in “The Elephant Man” (1980).

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Other notable roles included Winston Smith, protagonist of the dystopian classic “Nineteen Eighty-Four” (1984); Kane, the ill-fated spacefarer who was host to the titular parasite in “Alien” (1979); the insane Roman emperor Caligula in the BBC miniseries "I, Claudius" (1976); a secret incarnation of the face-changing, time-traveling Doctor on the 50th anniversary episode of "Doctor Who" (2013); and Mr. Ollivander, the magic wand salesman who appeared in three of the "Harry Potter" films (2001 - 2011).

He was knighted in 2015 for his services to drama.

Hurt is survived by his wife of 12 years, Anwen Rees-Myers.

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