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Broadcast News And MCU Star William Hurt Is Dead At 71

William Hurt in Broadcast News
(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

The film world lost a spectacular talent today, as it has been announced that William Hurt – the Academy Award-winning actor best known for his roles in Broadcast News, The Big Chill, Body Heat, and as Thaddeus 'Thunderbolt' Ross in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – has passed away. He was 71, and died of natural causes.

According to Deadline, William Hurt's son, Will, shared the news of his father's passing with an official statement, which says:

It is with great sadness that the Hurt family mourns the passing of William Hurt, beloved father and Oscar winning actor, on March 13, 2022, one week before his 72nd birthday. He died peacefully, among family, of natural causes. The family requests privacy at this time.

William Hurt's career was one of many remarkable accomplishments – among them being a string of Best Actor nominations from the Academy Awards in the mid-1980s. In 1986 he won the Oscar for his performance in Hector Babenco's Kiss of the Spider Woman, and in the two years that followed he was nominated for his turns in Randa Haines' Children Of A Lesser God and James L. Brooks' Broadcast News. In 2006 he earned his fourth nomination, competing for Best Supporting Actor in celebration of his sinister turn in David Cronenberg's A History Of Violence.

A graduate of the Juilliard School after a brief time studying theology at Tufts University, William Hurt's acting career began on the stage, but was forever changed once he starred in Ken Russell's Altered States in 1980. He followed that breakout performance starring opposite Sigourney Weaver in Peter Yates' Eyewitness, and then teamed with writer/director Lawrence Kasdan for two notable hits: 1981's sexy thriller Body Heat and 1983's intimate drama The Big Chill.

After starring in some of the best films of the 1980s, Hurt became one of the most reliable Hollywood talents through subsequent decades, and in the 1990s and 2000s he made a big impression on the sci-fi world – starring in Alex Proyas' Dark City, Stephen Hopkins' movie version of Lost In Space, and Steven Spielberg's A.I. Artificial Intelligence. He was also one of the first big name stars to sign on as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, first playing Thaddeus 'Thunderbolt' Ross in Louis Leterrier's The Incredible Hulk before reprising the role in the Joe and Anthony Russo-directed trio Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. He most recently played the part again as a member of the cast in Cate Shortland's Black Widow.

In the last 13 years, William Hurt has continued to be a presence on the big screen, but he also did a lot of work on television. In 2009 he had a recurring role on the critically-acclaimed FX series Damages, and he followed up that series with shows including 2015's Humans, 2016's Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands, Condor, and Goliath

He is part of the cast of the upcoming AMC series Pantheon – starring Paul Dano, Maude Apatow, and Taylor Schilling –  which started filming in late January. 

We here at CinemaBlend wish to extend our deepest sympathies to William Hurt's family, friends, and fans during this painful time, and hope that everyone takes solace in the fact that his spectacular talent will be remembered forever through his remarkable body of work.

NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.