John Hurt Born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, Hurt studied art at the St. Martin's School for Art, but turned to the stage in 1962. He performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and is a member of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).
His first film was 1962's The Wild and the Willing, but his first major role was as Richard Rich in 1966's A Man for All Seasons. However, it was his portrayal of the outrageous Quentin Crisp in the 1975 TV play, The Naked Civil Servant, that shot him to fame, earning the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor in the process. The following year, Hurt gave a memorable performance as the emperor Caligula in the major BBC drama serial, I, Claudius. He subsequently developed a successful film career, with his best known roles including the memorable first victim of the title creature in the film Alien and as "John" Merrick in the Joseph Merrick biography The Elephant Man.
Interestingly, Hurt, who played the character of Winston Smith in the 1984 adaptation of the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, assumed the role of a Big Brother-esque leader of a fascist Great Britain in the 2006 film V for Vendetta, a movie which draws many parallels to the world of Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Hurt was made a Commander of the The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in June 2004.