William Hurt Biography

William Hurt is an American actor known for his role in the film ‘Broadcast News.’ Check out this biography to know about his birthday, childhood, family life, achievements and fun facts about him.

Quick Facts

Birthday: March 20, 1950

Nationality: American

Famous: Actors American Men

Age: 69 Years, 69 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Pisces

Also Known As: William McChord Hurt

Born Country: United States

Born in: Washington, D.C., United States

Famous as: Actor

Height: 6'2" (188 cm), 6'2" Males


Spouse/Ex-: Heidi Henderson (1989-1992), Mary Beth Hurt (1971-1982)

father: Alfred McChord Hurt

mother: Claire Isabel (née McGill)

children: Alexander Devon Hurt, Jeanne Bonnaire-Hurt, Samuel Hurt, William Hurt

Partner: Marlee Matlin (1985–1986), Sandra Jennings (1981–1984), Sandrine Bonnaire (1992–1997)

U.S. State: Washington

More Facts

education: American Education, Tufts University (BA) Juilliard School (GrDip)

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William McChord Hurt is an actor and producer from America. In his over four-decade-long acting career, he has done extensive works on all three mediums of performing arts. Originally from Washington, D.C., Hurt had harboured acting aspirations since he was quite young. He attended the Juilliard School and started his career on stage in the 1970s. He made his screen debut in an episode of the CBS series ‘Kojak’. His first cinematic appearance came in 1980 as a troubled scientist in Ken Russell's science-fiction movie ‘Altered States’, for which he garnered his first Golden Globe nomination. A few years later, he received widespread recognition for his outing as Luis Molina in the Brazilian-American drama film ‘Kiss of the Spider Woman’ and won an Academy Award and a BAFTA Award. As he grew older, Hurt made a gradual transition to character acting. He has been nominated for three more Academy Awards and two Primetime Emmy Awards. He has been nominated for a Tony Award for ‘Hurlyburly’ as well.

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Childhood & Early Life
  • Born on March 20, 1950, in Washington, D.C., USA, William Hurt is the son of Claire Isabel (née McGill) and Alfred McChord Hurt. His mother was employed at Time Inc., whereas his father served in the State Department. Because of his father’s job, he spent parts of his childhood in Lahore, Mogadishu and Khartoum.
  • Hurt was a student at Middlesex School, where he served as the vice president of the dramatic clubs and performed in several plays.
  • After obtaining his high school diploma in 1968, he briefly studied theology at Tufts University. However, he ultimately dropped out and began his training at the Juilliard, where he was part of the Drama Division Group 5 (1972–76).
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Stage Career
  • William Hurt started his career on stage. He performed with Circle Repertory Company from 1977 to 1989. He received an Obie Award for his debut outing in Corinne Jacker's ‘My Life’.
  • In 1978, he received a Theatre World Award for ‘Fifth of July’, ‘Ulysses in Traction’, and ‘Lulu’. In 1979, Hurt portrayed the titular character in Marshall W. Mason’s production of ‘Hamlet’.
  • Hurt was part of the original cast of David Rabe’s dark-comedy play ‘Hurlyburly’, which opened at Goodman Theatre in Chicago in early 1984. It had its Broadway debut in August at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, where it was performed 343 times. For his performance, Hurt earned a Tony nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Play.
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Television Career
  • In 1980, William Hurt had his screen debut in an episode of the CBS action crime-drama series ‘Kojak’. He portrayed Duke Leto I Atreides in the 2000 three-part science fiction TV miniseries ‘Frank Herbert's Dune’.
  • In 2009, Hurt worked with fellow industry veteran Glenn Close in the second season of the FX legal drama series ‘Damages’. His character, scientist Daniel Purcell, garnered him a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor – Drama Series as well as a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film.
  • For his outing as Varian Fry in the 2011 telefilm ‘Varian’s War’, he was nominated for a Satellite Award for best actor.
  • Hurt won a Satellite Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film for playing Henry Paulson, the real-life banker and the 74th Secretary of the Treasury, in the 2011 HBO telefilm ‘Too Big to Fall’. He was also nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film for the telefilm.
  • In 2016, Hurt portrayed Hrothgar in the ITV adaptation of ‘Beowulf’ and Donald Cooperman in the first season of Amazon Prime series ‘Goliath’. He currently stars in the Audience Network series ‘Condor’.
Film Career
  • After making his film debut in ‘Altered States’, William Hurt starred in films like ‘Eyewitness’ and ‘Gorky Park’ before he was cast as Luis Molina, a transgender woman imprisoned for having a sexual relationship with an underage boy, in Héctor Babenco’s 1985 film ‘Kiss of the Spider Woman’.
  • His performance in the film ‘Kiss of the Spider Woman’ earned him an Academy Award for Best Actor, BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, and Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival.
  • He was nominated for Academy Award for Best Actor twice more for playing James Leeds in the romance drama ‘Children of a Lesser God’ (1986) and Tom Grunick in the romantic comedy-drama ‘Broadcast News’ (1987). Hurt also received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for playing Richie Cusack in ‘A History of Violence’.
  • Hurt has played comic-book character Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross in several Marvel Cinematic Universe films. In 2006, he co-produced the family animation film ‘The Legend of Sasquatch’.
  • He is set to star in the upcoming films ‘The Last Full Measure’, ‘The King’s Daughter’, ‘Men of Granite’, and ‘A Pair of Silver Wings’.
Family & Personal Life
  • William Hurt has been married twice in his life. From December 2, 1971, to December 9, 1982, he was married to actress Mary Beth Hurt. On March 5, 1989, he exchanged wedding vows with Heidi Henderson. They have two sons together, Samuel (born 1989) and William (1991). Their divorce was finalised on August 1, 1993.
  • He was in a relationship with a woman named Sandra Jennings between 1981 and 1984. Their son, Alexander, was born in 1983. He dated actress, author, and activist Marlee Matlin from 1985 to 1986.
  • Hurt also has a daughter named Jeanne (1994) with the French actress, film director, and screenwriter Sandrine Bonnaire, whom he dated between 1992 and 1997.


Academy Awards(Oscars)
1986 Best Actor in a Leading Role Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)
BAFTA Awards
1986 Best Actor Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)

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Article Title
- William Hurt Biography
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
- TheFamousPeople.com
Last Updated
- September 20, 2019
William Hurt

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