William McChord Hurt[3][4] (born March 20, 1950) is an American stage and film actor. He received his acting training at the Juilliard School and began acting on stage in the 1970s. Hurt made his film debut as a troubled scientist in the science-fiction feature Altered States (1980), for which he received a Golden Globe nomination for New Star of the Year. He subsequently played a leading role, as a lawyer who succumbs to the temptations of Kathleen Turner, in the neo-noir Body Heat (1981).

In 1985, Hurt garnered critical acclaim and multiple acting awards, including an Academy Award and a BAFTA Award for Best Actor, for portraying a gay man in Kiss of the Spider Woman. He received another two Academy Award nominations for his lead performances in Children of a Lesser God (1986) and Broadcast News (1987). Hurt remained an active stage actor throughout the 1980s, appearing in Off-Broadway productions, including Henry V, Fifth of July, Richard II and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Hurt received his first Tony Award nomination in 1985 for the Broadway production of Hurlyburly.

After playing a diversity of character roles in the following decade, Hurt earned his fourth Academy Award nomination for his supporting performance in David Cronenberg's crime thriller A History of Violence (2005). Other notable films in recent years have included A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), The Village (2004), Syriana (2005), The Good Shepherd (2006), Mr. Brooks (2007), Into the Wild (2007), The Incredible Hulk (2008), Robin Hood (2010) and Captain America: Civil War (2016).

Early life

Hurt was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Claire Isabel (née McGill), who worked at Time, Inc., and Alfred McChord Hurt, who worked for the State Department.[5] With his father, he lived in Lahore, Mogadishu and Khartoum.[6] After his parents divorced, his mother married Henry Luce III (a son of publisher Henry Luce) during Hurt's childhood. Hurt graduated from Middlesex School in 1968 where he was vice president of the Dramatics Club and had the lead role in several school plays. His high school yearbook predicted: "With characteristics such as these, you might even see him on Broadway." Hurt attended Tufts University and studied theology,[7] but turned instead to acting and joined the Juilliard School (Drama Division Group 5: 1972–1976).[9] Two of his classmates there were the late actors Christopher Reeve and Robin Williams.


Hurt began his career in stage productions, only later acting in films. From 1977 to 1989, he was a member of the acting company at Circle Repertory Company. He won an Obie Award for his debut appearance there in Corinne Jacker's My Life, and won a 1978 Theatre World Award for his performances in Fifth of July, Ulysses in Traction, and Lulu. In 1979, Hurt played Hamlet under the direction of Marshall W. Mason opposite Lindsay Crouse and Beatrice Straight. His first major film role was in the science-fiction film Altered States where his performance as an obsessed scientist gained him wide recognition. His performance with Richard Crenna, Ted Danson and newcomer Kathleen Turner in Lawrence Kasdan's neo-noir classic Body Heat elevated Hurt to stardom, and he later also co-starred in The Big Chill (1983). He appeared in the thriller Gorky Park opposite Lee Marvin. He received the Best Male Performance Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Award for Best Actor for Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1985. He has received three additional Oscar nominations: Best Actor for Children of a Lesser God (1986) and Broadcast News (1987; he was thus nominated for Best Actor for three consecutive years) and Best Supporting Actor for A History Of Violence (2005). Hurt also starred in Tuck Everlasting as Angus Tuck.

Often cast as an intellectual, Hurt has appeared as such in films such as Lost in Space, but has also been effective in other kinds of role, such as those in I Love You to Death and David Cronenberg's psychological drama A History of Violence (2005), where in less than 10 minutes of screen time he plays the creepy mob boss, Richie Cusack. Also in 2005, Hurt played a mysterious government operative in Stephen Gaghan's ensemble drama about the politics of big oil, Syriana.

Hurt was in the miniseries adaptation of Stephen King's Nightmares and Dreamscapes, in a piece entitled Battleground (also notable for its complete lack of dialogue). He plays Renshaw, a hitman who receives a package from the widow of a toymaker he had killed, unaware of what is waiting inside for him. He appeared in the cast of Vanya, an adaptation of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, at the Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland, Oregon.[10]

In June 2007, Marvel Studios announced Hurt would portray the Hulk character General “Thunderbolt” Ross in 2008's The Incredible Hulk alongside Edward Norton, Liv Tyler and Tim Roth.[11] Hurt reprised his role in Captain America: Civil War (2016).[2]

He appeared in Sean Penn's film Into the Wild, the true story of Christopher McCandless. He appeared as President Henry Ashton in the 2008 action-thriller Vantage Point. Hurt also played Mr. Brooks's alter ego in Mr. Brooks starring Kevin Costner.

In 2009, Hurt became a series regular on the FX series Damages playing a corporate whistleblower opposite Glenn Close and Marcia Gay Harden. For his role in the series, Hurt earned a 2009 Primetime Emmy Award nomination in the "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series" category. Hurt's 2009 Sundance film The Yellow Handkerchief was released in theaters on February 26, 2010 by Samuel Goldwyn Films. He was in the Thailand-based 2011 thriller Hellgate alongside Cary Elwes and Paula Taylor, directed by John Penney.[2]

In September 2010, Hurt played United States Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson in the HBO film Too Big to Fail, an adaptation of Andrew Ross Sorkin's book. He also starred as Captain Ahab in the 2011 television adaptation of Herman Melville's novel Moby-Dick.

Personal life

Hurt is fluent in French and maintains a home outside Paris. He is the step-grandson of Henry Luce, founder of Time magazine and actress-writer Clare Boothe Luce, through his mother's marriage to Henry Luce's son from his first marriage, Henry Luce III.[14]

Hurt was married to Mary Beth Hurt from 1971 to 1982.[14] In the 1980s, Hurt was involved in a lawsuit with Sandra Jennings, who alleged that the two shared a common-law marriage. While he was still married, Hurt and Jennings had begun a relationship in Saratoga Springs, New York, in 1981. Jennings became pregnant in the spring of 1982 which precipitated Hurt's divorce from Mary Beth Hurt, after which Hurt and Jennings relocated to South Carolina, a state that recognized common-law marriages. Hurt and Jennings remained officially unmarried, later separated and Jennings sued him in New York, seeking recognition of the "marriage" under South Carolina law. The New York court, which did not recognize common-law marriage and was reluctant to recognize a common-law marriage originating in South Carolina, found in Hurt's favor that no common-law marriage existed.

Hurt dated Marlee Matlin for one year, and they cohabited for two years.[2] In her 2009 autobiography I'll Scream Later, Matlin claimed that their relationship involved considerable drug abuse and physical abuse by Hurt.[2] In response to the accusations aired on CNN on April 13, 2009, Hurt's agent declined to respond, but Hurt issued a statement the following day, which said: "My own recollection is that we both apologized and both did a great deal to heal our lives. Of course, I did and do apologize for any pain I caused. And I know we have both grown. I wish Marlee and her family nothing but good."[2]

Hurt has four children: Alexander with Sandra Jennings, Sam and William with Heidi Henderson, and Jeanne with actress Sandrine Bonnaire.[14]

During the filming of Kiss of the Spider Woman, Hurt and a friend were threatened at gunpoint but were let go several hours later.[6]

Hurt is a private pilot and owner of a Beechcraft Bonanza.[2]



1980Altered StatesEdward Jessup, ProfessorProfessor Edward JessupKen RussellNominated – Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actor
1981EyewitnessDaryll DeeverPeter Yates
1981Body HeatNed RacineLawrence Kasdan
1983Big Chill, TheThe Big ChillNick CarltonLawrence Kasdan
1983Gorky ParkArkady RenkoMichael Apted
1985Kiss of the Spider WomanLuis Alberto MolinaHéctor BabencoAcademy Award for Best Actor
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Cannes Film Festival - Best Actor Award
David di Donatello Award for Best Foreign Actor
London Film Critics Circle Award for Actor of the Year
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
National Board of Review Award for Best Actor (tied with Raul Julia)
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
Nominated – National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
Nominated – New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
1986Children of a Lesser GodJames LeedsRanda HainesNominated – Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
1987Broadcast NewsTom GrunickJames L. BrooksNominated – Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated – New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
1988Time of Destiny, AA Time of DestinyMartin LarranetaGregory Nava
1988Accidental Tourist, TheThe Accidental TouristMacon LearyLawrence KasdanGolden Horse Award for Best Foreign Actor
1990I Love You to DeathHarlan JamesLawrence Kasdan
1990AliceDoug TateWoody Allen
1991Until the End of the WorldSam Farber, alias Trevor McPheeWim Wenders
1991Doctor, TheThe DoctorJack MacKee, Dr.Dr. Jack MacKeeRanda HainesNominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
1992The PlagueBernard Rieux, DoctorDoctor Bernard RieuxLuis Puenzo
1993Mr. WonderfulTomAnthony Minghella
1994Second BestGraham HoltChris Menges
1994Trial by JuryTommy VeseyHeywood Gould
1995SmokePaul BenjaminWayne Wang
1996Couch in New York, AA Couch in New YorkHenry HarristonChantal Akerman
1996MichaelFrank QuinlanNora Ephron
1996Jane EyreEdward Fairfax RochesterFranco Zeffirelli
1997LovedK.D. DietricksonErin Dignam
1998Lost in SpaceJohn Robinson, ProfessorProfessor John RobinsonStephen Hopkins
1998Dark CityFrank Bumstead, InspectorInspector Frank BumsteadAlex Proyas
1998One True ThingGeorge GuldenCarl Franklin
1999The 4th FloorGreg HarrisonJosh Klausner
1999SunshineAndor KnorrIstván SzabóNominated – Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
1999Big Brass Ring, TheThe Big Brass RingWilliam Blake PellarinGeorge Hickenlooper
1999Do Not DisturbWalter RichmondDick Maasa.k.a. Silent Witness
2000Contaminated ManDavid R. WhitmanAnthony Hickox
2000Miracle Maker, TheThe Miracle MakerJairusDerek W. Hayes & Stanislav SokolovVoice only
2001Rare BirdsRestaurateurSturla Gunnarsson
2001A.I. Artificial IntelligenceAllen Hobby, ProfessorProfessor Allen HobbySteven Spielberg
2001Simian Line, TheThe Simian LineEdwardLinda Yellen
2002Tuck EverlastingAngus TuckJay Russell
2002Changing LanesDoyle Gipson's AA SponsorRoger Michell
2002Nearest to HeavenMatt
2004Blue Butterfly, TheThe Blue ButterflyAlan OsborneLéa Pool
2004Village, TheThe VillageEdward WalkerM. Night Shyamalan
2005King, TheThe KingDavid SandowJames Marsh
2005History of Violence, AA History of ViolenceRichie CusackDavid CronenbergAustin Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – International Cinephile Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
2005NeverwasPeter Reed, Dr.Dr. Peter ReedJoshua Michael Stern
2005SyrianaStan GoffStephen Gaghan
2006Good Shepherd, TheThe Good ShepherdPhilip Allen, CIA DirectorCIA Director Philip AllenRobert De Niro
2006Legend of Sasquatch, TheThe Legend of SasquatchJohn DavisThomas CallicoatVoice only
2007Mr. BrooksMarshallBruce A. Evans
2007Beautiful OhioSimon MessermanChad Lowe
2007NoiseSchneer, MayorMayor SchneerHenry Bean
2007Into the WildWalt McCandlessSean PennNominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2008Vantage PointHarry Ashton, PresidentPresident Harry AshtonPete Travis
2008Incredible Hulk, TheThe Incredible HulkThaddeus "Thunderbolt" RossLouis Leterrier
2009Countess, TheThe CountessGyörgy ThurzóJulie Delpy
2010Yellow Handkerchief, TheThe Yellow HandkerchiefBrett HansonUdayan Prasad
2010Robin HoodWilliam MarshalRidley Scott
2011River Why, TheThe River WhyGus's FatherMatthew Leutwyler
2011Late BloomersAdamJulie Gavras
2011HellgateWarren MillsJohn Penney
2013The HostJeb StryderAndrew Niccol
2013The Disappearance of Eleanor RigbyJulian RigbyNed Benson
2013Fire in the BloodNarratorDylan Mohan GrayDocumentary
2013Days and NightsHerbChristian Camargo
2014Winter's TaleIsaac PennAkiva Goldsman
2016RaceJeremiah MahoneyStephen Hopkins
2016Captain America: Civil WarThaddeus "Thunderbolt" RossAnthony Russo
Joe Russo
2016The King's DaughterPère La ChaiseSean McNamaraPost-production


1977KojakJake2 episodes
1978Verna: U.S.O. GirlWalterTelevision movie
2000Frank Herbert's DuneLeto I Atreides, DukeDuke Leto I Atreides3 episodes
2001The Flamingo RisingTurner KnightTV film
2001Varian's WarVarian FryTelevision movie
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
2002The King of QueensTaber, Dr.Dr. TaberEpisode: "Shrink Wrap"
2002Master Spy: The Robert Hanssen StoryRobert HanssenTelevision movie
2004FrankensteinWaldman, ProfessorProfessor WaldmanTelevision movie
2006Nightmares and DreamscapesJason RenshawEpisode: "Battleground"
2009DamagesDaniel Purcell10 episodes
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor – Drama Series
2009EndgameWillie EsterhuyseTV movie
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
2011Moby DickCaptain Ahab2 episodes
2011Too Big to FailHenry PaulsonTelevision movie
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
2013Bonnie & ClydeFrank Hamer2 episodes
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
2013The ChallengerRichard FeynmanTelevision movie
2015HumansGeorge Millican7 episodes (main cast)
2016BeowulfHrothgar5 episodes
2016Goliath[2]Donald Cooperman