(Brent Lang’s and J. Kim Murphy’s article appeared, 3/13, in Variety; Photo:  Rich Fury/Invision/AP.)

William Hurt, who became a top leading man in the 1980s,, winning an Oscar for 1985’s “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and starring in “The Big Chill” and “Body Heat,” died Sunday of natural causes. He was 71. Hurt’s death was confirmed to Variety by his friend, Gerry Byrne.

His son Will said in a statement, “It is with great sadness that the Hurt family mourns the passing of William Hurt, beloved father and Oscar winning actor, on March 13, 2022, one week before his 72nd birthday. He died peacefully, among family, of natural causes.”

Hurt was nominated for four Oscars over the course of his long career, scoring two best actor nominations for “Broadcast News” and “Children of a Lesser God” and a supporting actor nod for less than 10 minutes of screen time in “A History of Violence.” He was one of the most heralded performers of the 1980s, becoming something of a cerebral sex symbol and a reluctant, albeit bankable, movie star. Hurt later transitioned into character roles in the 1990s and successfully alternated between big screen projects and television, scoring Emmy nominations for his work as a whistleblower in “Damages” and his portrayal of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in “Too Big to Fail.”

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