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William Hurt is an Academy Award-winning actor known for his intense dramas and challenging roles in films such as Broadcast News and A History of Violence.
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Born in 1950 in Washington, D.C., William Hurt won an Academy Award for best actor for his performance in Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985), as well as Oscar nominations for his roles in Children of a Lesser God and Broadcast News. Often returning to the stage, he won an Obie Award and a Theatre World Award for My Life (1977), and a Tony Award nomination for Hurlyburly (1984–5). Later films include Dark City (1998) and A History of Violence (2005),
for which he won an Oscar nomination (best supporting actor).
Born on March 20, 1950, in Washington, D.C., William Hurt is most famous for such 1980s films as Body Heat, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Children of a Lesser God and The Accidental Tourist. He spent his early years abroad as the son of a state department employee. After his parents divorced, Hurt lived in New York City with his mother. He visited his father in different parts of the world during his school vacations.
When he was 10 years old, Hurt was sent to boarding school after his mother remarried. There, he developed an interest in acting. At Tuft University, Hurt continued to explore this interest while majoring in theology. He and his future wife Mary Beth Supinger met at the school and later married. The pair moved to London for a time and then to New York City, where Hurt enrolled at the Juilliard School.
Hurt started out as a stage actor, first appearing in a regional Shakespearean festival. He then joined the Circle Repertory Company in New York. After appearing in numerous productions, Hurt won an Obie Award for his performance in My Life in 1977. In 1980, he made his film debut in Altered States. Hurt plays a scientist who experiments on himself with disturbing results.
The following year, Hurt proved himself as a more traditional leading man type in the crime thriller Body Heat. He co-starred opposite Kathleen Turner in the film, which helped make both of them stars. In 1983, Hurt appeared in the popular ensemble dramatic comedy The Big Chill. The movie follows a group of former college friends who reunite for a funeral. The cast also includes Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum and Kevin Kline.
Two years later, Hurt gave one of the most remarkable performances of his career in Kiss of the Spider Woman. In the film, he plays Luis, a homosexual drag queen who is imprisoned in a South American jail. Raul Julia plays his cellmate, a political prisoner. Luis tells stories to try to escape from his dreary existence. To prepare for the role, Hurt studied with a dance teacher and developed his own approach to the character. After some struggling, Hurt decided that Luis "really is a woman. He's just caught in a man's body," he told NPR in a radio interview. All his hard work paid off. Hurt won raves for his work on Kiss of the Spider Woman, and even won the 1986 Academy Award for best actor.
Hurt's film career continued to thrive with a string of impressive performances.
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