Oscar winning international superstar William Hurt has succumbed to cancer only a week before his 72nd birthday.

He has been a geek icon since his first role in Ken Russel’s science fiction feature Altered States in 1980, but geeks may know him best as General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, father of Betty Ross, and father-in-law of Bruce Banner (The Hulk) in the Marvel Comics movies.

Hurt was nominated for Academy Awards four times, including one for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for A History of Violence (2005), and three for Best Actor in a Leading Role or Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985), Children of a Lesser God (1986), and Broadcast News (1987). The Oscar he won was for Best Actor for Kiss of the Spider Woman.

William Hurt was born March 20, 1950 in Washington, DC, USA. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018, which had already metastacized to the surrounding bones. He passed away due to complications of the disease at his home in Portland, Oregon on March 13, 2022.

He was married and divorced three times, to Mary Beth Hurt from 1971 to 1982, to Sandra Jennings from 1981 to 1984, co-habitated with Marlee Maltin, his co-star in Children of a Lesser God, from 1985-1986, and married again to French actress /director Alexandrine Bonnaire in 1992, then divorced again in 1997, He had four children, William Hurt, Samuel Hurt, Alexander Devon Hurt, and Jeanne Vonnaire-Hurt. He was granted an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts from his alma mater Tufts University in 2005.

His Impressive Geek Cred

  • 1980 * Progessor Edward Jessup * Altered States
  • 1991 & Sam Farner * Until the End ofthe World
  • 1998 * Professor John Robinson * Lost in Space
  • 1998 * Inspector Frank Bumstead * Dark City
  • 1999 * Jairus * The Miracle Maker
  • 2000 * David Whitman * The Contaminated Man
  • 2000 * Duke Leto Atreides * Frank Herbert’s Dune
  • 2001 * Professor Allen Hobby * Artificial Intelligence
  • 2002 * Angus Tuck * Tuck Everlasting
  • 2004 * Edward Walker * The Village
  • 2004 * Professor Waldman * Frankenstein
  • 2005 * Peter Reed * Everwas
  • 2006 * Jason Renshaw * Nightmares and Dreamscapes
  • 2007 * John Davis * The Legend of the Sasquatch
  • 2008 * General Thaddeus Ross * The Incredible Hulk
  • 2010 *William Marshall * Robin Hood
  • 2011 * Warren Mills * Hellgate
  • 2013 * Richard Feynman * Challenger Disaster
  • 2016 * Thaddeus Ross * Captain America: Civil War
  • 2018 * Thaddeus Ross * Avengers: Infinity War
  • 2019 * Thaddeus Ross * Avengers : Endgame
  • 2021 * Thaddeus Ross * Black Widow
  • 2021 * Peter Cromwell * Mythic Quest
  • 2022 * Pere La Chause * The King’s Daughter

From his time on the stage, bringing Shakespeare and Chekhov to life, to his movie appearances, William Hurt was an actor;s actor. He will be missed. His performances will be watched and analyzed in drama classes for years to come.

Awards and Honors

William Hurt came very close to coveted EGOT status (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony), He won an Oscar, and was nominated for both a Tony and an Obie.


Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.