William Hurt, the Oscar-winning actor, has died aged 71

William Hurt in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
(Image credit: Marvel)

William Hurt, the actor best known for his Oscar-winning role in Kiss of the Spider Woman and for playing Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross in the Marvel movies, has died aged 71. 

"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," a statement from his family reads. "He died peacefully, among family, of natural causes. The family requests privacy at this time.”

Hurt was nominated for a total of four Oscars, including two lead actor nods for Broadcast News and Children of a Lesser God. He also picked up a supporting actor nomination for A History of Violence, in which he had less than 10 minutes of screentime. 

Hurt's 45-year screen career began with a lead role in the 1980's film Altered States, which won him critical acclaim and brought him to the attention of director Lawrence Kasdan, who cast him as the lead in Body Heat. Hurt also appeared in Kasdan's The Big Chill, which was nominated for Best Picture.

Hurt's performances and Kiss of the Spider Woman, Broadcast News, and A History of Violence saw him nominated for Oscars in three consecutive years through the '80s. He was, at the time, one of Hollywood's most bankable (yet reluctant) leading men. In the '90s and '00s, he transitioned to being a character actor, though still in high-profile movies, including A.I. Artificial Intelligence, The Village, Mr. Brooks, Into the Wild, and Robin Hood. 

For a younger generation, he will be best known for playing the Hulk nemesis Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He first appeared in The Incredible Hulk, later reprising the role in Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and Black Widow. He was also in the Marvel 'One-Shot' The Consultant. His voice will reportedly be heard in the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Jack Shepherd
Freelance Journalist

Jack Shepherd is the former Senior Entertainment Editor of GamesRadar. Jack used to work at The Independent as a general culture writer before specializing in TV and film for the likes of GR+, Total Film, SFX, and others. You can now find Jack working as a freelance journalist and editor.