Probably one of his most famous scenes of all time in a classic science-fiction movie became one of the most memorable scenes of a science-fiction parody a few years later.
Yes, we’re talking about chest-popping aliens that plagued actor John Hurt first in 1979’s Alien and later in Mel Brooks’ 1987 space-faring comedy Spaceballs. But Hurt played so many more roles – at least 200 more – in a career that spanned 55 years.
But it all came to an end Friday when he died two years after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Hurt was 77.
Hurt was twice nominated for an Oscar – first in 1979 for Midnight Express, and later in 1981 for playing the title role in The Elephant Man. By then, however, he played one of his most famous international roles, that of Kane, the very first character director Ridley Scott killed off with his title character.
But while he would take on a number of critically acclaimed roles, Hurt was never shy to take part in science-fiction and fantasy films. Those roles included 1984, as wand-maker Mr. Ollivander in the Harry Potter film series, as Trevor “Broom” Bruttenholm in Hellboy, and even voicing the dragon in Merlin.