BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

28 October 2014
BBC Derby

BBC Homepage


Radio Derby

Site Contents

Contact Us

January 2003 >>
John Hurt
John Hurt
John Hurt has a CV that most actors would give their back teeth for, including classic films such as Alien, Midnight Express and the Elephant Man.
audio John Hurt talks to BBC Radio's Andy Whittaker in January 2002
BBC download guide
Free Real player

John Hurt

Ellen MacArthur

Sir Alan Bates

Robert Lindsay

Timothy Dalton

arrow The Internet Movie Database
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.

He lived with Marie-Lise Volpeliere-Pierrot from 1967-83, when she was killed in a riding accident.

He is an Associate of RADA.

View a printable version of this page.
get in contact
Born in Chesterfield on 22nd January 1940, John describes his childhood as 'idyllic', growing up in Shirebrook where his father was the parish vicar.

The family later moved to Woodville before leaving Derbyshire when John was 12 years old.

1971 10 Rillington Place
1972 The Pied Piper
1978 Watership Down
1978 Midnight Express
1979 Alien
1980 The Elephant Man
1980 Heaven's Gate
1983 The Osterman Weekend
1984 1984
1987 Spaceballs
1989 Scandal
1991 King Ralph
1993 Even Cowgirls Get The Blues
1995 Rob Roy
2000 The Tigger Movie
2001 Captain Corelli's Mandolin
2001 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Despite being advised by his headmaster not to pursue an acting career, John gave up a course in painting to attend the London Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).

In 1962, he made both his professional stage debut in 'Infanticide In The House of Fred Ginger' and his feature film debut in 'The Young and the Willing'.

And it was while appearing in a London production of Little Malcolm in 1965 that John came to the attention of director Fred Zinnemann.

The young actor was given a small role in the film version of A Man For All Seasons and when the film clinched six Oscars, John was thrust into the spotlight.

Over the next ten years came a mixture of TV and film roles, including The Pied Piper and 10 Rillington Place.

Then in 1975 came the role that would take John's acting career up a level - playing Quintin Crisp in the TV series, The Naked Civil Servant.

John Hurt as Caligula
John Hurt as Caligula
His acclaimed performance in the lead role brought about a period of fine performances over the next few years.

These included Caligula in the BBC's I, Claudius, Max the Englishman in Midnight Express, Kane in Alien (including the famous scene where an alien burst from his stomach), and the lead role in The Elephant Man.

His role as the disfigured John Merrick required John to spend seven hours in make-up and critics were amazed at how he managed to produce such an expressive performance despite being beneath layers of prosthetic skin.

The quality roles continued through the eighties, with John specialising in playing the outsider - most effectively in the film adaptation of 1984 and Scandal, the story of disgraced government minister John Profumo.

"I've done some stinkers in the cinema. You can't regret it; there are always reasons for doing something, even if it's just the location."
John Hurt
The nineties saw John mix lead roles in independent and low-profile films and plays, whilst taking handpicked roles in more well-known movies such as Rob Roy, Contact and Even Cowgirls Get The Blues.

And the last few years have seen an ageing John make acclaimed appearances in Captain Correlli's Mandolin and as Mr Ollivander in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, a role John described as 'a lot of fun'.

In January 2002, John was given an honourary degree by the University of Derby - something he described as giving him 'immense pleasure.'
Top | Features Index | Home
Derbyshire in pictures
Derbyshire in 360°
Derbyshire webcams
Virtual Tours
  Discover Derbyshire
Discover Derbyshire
  Latest on the Rams
Rams graphic
Contact Us
BBC Derby
PO Box 104.5
(+44) 01332 361111

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy