Pancreatic Cancer two words in the English language guaranteed to send chills down the spine, bringing up visions of the late actor Patrick Swayze, and John Hurt has been diagnosed with this deadly disease but says he is full of optimism. The two time Oscar nominee recently completed work on an 18 minute long short, Sailcloth, The Daily Telegraph waxed lyrical about the film and Hurt’s performance in it. as well as his gloomy health forecast.
There are few actors in the world with such a wide and varied career of dissimilar roles in a range of genres. From his first part in television, in the iconic Z Cars back in 1962 to the short film Sailcloth and the upcoming projects listed in IMDb, which number 11, Hurt has worked steadily and left a lasting impression on cinema audiences the world over.
His Oscar nominations came for The Elephant Man (1981) as Best Actor and prior to that the 1979 film Midnight Express as Best Supporting Actor, it is interesting to note that the first “nod” was for his performance in a biopic based part of John Merrick’s life and the second nomination was for a “based on a true story” picture.
Hurt did get the BAFTA for both film roles and got another, on top of his 2012 “Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema,” for his work in The Naked Civil Servant in 1975. Sir John famously had an alien burst from his chest in Ridley Scott’s Alien and played in Guillermo Del Toro’s film Hellboy, based on the comics. Hurt recently played a pivotal role in Snowpiercer , another film based upon a “comic” in this case a French graphic novel.
This small slice of the long body of work from John Hurt shows just how talented and versatile this performer is and makes the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer all the more bitter and upsetting. The 75 year-old actor shows no sign of slowing down, however, he is currently filming The History of Love, which is projected for a 2016 release.
Sir John says the medical team are very positive about the course of his treatment. In one of those, “can you believe it moments” the actor will be recording a BBC Radio Four play, Keith Waterhouse’s Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell, something that several publications have referred to as an ultimate “irony.”
Despite the horrific news that this august actor has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, his optimism does not feel misplaced and one can only hope that his distinctive voice and impressive skills will continue to be heard and seen for some time to come.