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Oscar-winning actor William Hurt has died at age 71

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Oscar-winning actor William Hurt has died. He's best known for his roles in "Body Heat," "Children Of A Lesser God" and "Broadcast News." Hurt won the Academy Award for best actor for the film "Kiss Of The Spider Woman."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN")

WILLIAM HURT: (As Luis Molina) What's wrong with being like a woman? Why do only women get to be sensitive? Why not a man? If more men acted like women, there wouldn't be so much violence.

MARTIN: More recently, William Hurt appeared in several Marvel films as General Thaddeus Ross. In a 2010 interview on Fresh Air, Hurt talked about what he has learned of acting over time.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

HURT: There's a standard, and the standard was something I arrived an understanding about after I'd been looking for it for 15 years of study. The standard is six weeks of rehearsal, 42 days to hatch a character the way, you know, nine months to hatch a kid. I don't know why it's true, but it is true for me, and anything less is - results in a premature character.

MARTIN: Hurt's former co-star and partner Marlee Matlin penned a 2009 memoir and in it detailed physical and emotional abuse during their relationship. Hurt later issued an apology, saying, quote, "my own recollection is that we both apologized and both did a great deal to heal our lives." Hurt was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018. The family did not share the cause of death but said he died peacefully of natural causes and among his family. William Hurt was 71 years old. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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