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‘Rage Joyously’: William Hurt Muses on Death

William Hurt is a young man with a moustache, naked and sweaty from the waist up, leaning back

Actor William Hurt has died at age 71. His son, Will, released this statement:

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.

No exact cause of death was stated. Hurt did say in 2018 that he had been diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer.

William Hurt was nominated four times for Academy Awards: winning for Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) and also being nominated for his work in Children of a Lesser God (1986), Broadcast News (1987), and A History of Violence (2005). For the latter film he was interviewed in Cannes by Xan Brooks of The Guardian, and had this to say about life and death:

“The simple fact of existence, of being aware that you are aware; this to me is the most astounding fact,” he says. “And I think that it has something to do with dying. When you are a kid you are beset by fears and you think, ‘I’ll solve the fear by living for ever and becoming a movie star.’ But I am not going to live for ever. And the more I know it, the more amazed I am by being here at all. I am so thrilled by the privilege of life, and yet at the same time I know that I have to let it go.”

That’s easier said than done, I tell him. Most people cling grimly on until their dying breath. Hurt appears to mull this over. “Yes, that’s correct,” he says, and quotes Dylan Thomas. “‘Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.’ But rage joyously,” he says as an afterthought. “Rage with panache.”

An impressive career. The Hollywood Reporter has more on his life.

Or see our full William Hurt biography »




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