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'Alien,' 'Harry Potter,' 'Doctor Who' actor John Hurt dies at 77

John Hurt, the British actor known for playing eccentric, empathic characters such as the Elephant Man, Harry Potter's wand maker Ollivander and Hellboy's guardian, passes away.

Actor John Hurt as the War Doctor in "Doctor Who."
Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

Actor Sir John Hurt, who appeared in over 200 films and TV shows, died Friday at the age of 77, his agent Charles McDonald confirmed to the Washington Post. The actor revealed in 2015 that he was battling pancreatic cancer.

Hurt's 60-year career earned him two Oscar nominations. He played such memorable roles as wand maker Ollivander in three of the Harry Potter films; the deformed Joseph Merrick in "The Elephant Man;" Winston Smith in "Nineteen Eighty-Four" (1984) based on the George Orwell book; the Dragon in the "Merlin" TV series; Professor Broom in the "Hellboy" films; and the War Doctor in "Doctor Who," to name a few.

Hurt also voiced characters in such well-known animated features as "The Lord of the Rings" and "Watership Down."

In Ridley Scott's 1979 sci-fi thriller "Alien," Hurt plays a character named Kane whose stomach explodes with an alien he unknowingly became a host to in one of the most graphic, memorable scenes in the movie. He would repeat a similar scene in Mel Brooks's 1987 film "Spaceballs."

Hurt's characters often died dramatically, which made him once remark, "I think I've got the record. It got to a point where my children wouldn't ask me if I died, but rather how do you die?"

There's even a YouTube video titled "The Many Deaths of John Hurt" featuring all of his onscreen character deaths (40 in total). The video shows him being shot, falling off buildings, hanged, stabbed, burning and of course dying from an alien bursting from his chest.

Hurt most recently played the Catholic priest Father Richard McSorley alongside actor Natalie Portman in the film "Jackie."

Directors and co-stars including Mel Brooks, Chris Evans, Elijah Woods and Alfred Molina left comments on social media about their love and appreciation for the accomplished actor.

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