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John Hurt, 'Elephant Man' Star And Character Actor, Dies At 77

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John Hurt waits for his photo to be taken in 2014 during a publicity tour for <em>Snowpiercer</em>. The British actor's death was confirmed Friday by his publicist.
Ian Gavan, Getty Images
John Hurt waits for his photo to be taken in 2014 during a publicity tour for Snowpiercer. The British actor's death was confirmed Friday by his publicist.

John Hurt, a British actor best known for lead roles in The Elephant Man and Nineteen Eighty-Four and a shockingly gory death in Alien, has died at 77, his publicist confirmed to NPR late Friday.

No details of his death were immediately available. He had announced in 2015 that he'd been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Variety reports.

In more recent years Hurt used his weathered looks and voice in a variety of supporting roles in movies such as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, V For Vendetta, Snowpiercer and last year's Jackie. He also portrayed a recent incarnation of the titular character in the beloved British TV show Doctor Who.

Hurt received Academy Award nominations for his work in Midnight Express in 1978 and David Lynch's The Elephant Man in 1980, but may be best remembered for his death-by-parasite-birth in Ridley Scott's Alien, a scene he comedically reprised several years later in Mel Brooks' Spaceballs.

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