Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

John Hurt, A BAFTA tribute

How good to hear that John Hurt is being awarded a BAFTA Fellowship award next month (Alfred Hitchcock was awarded the first and one has been awarded each year for deserving great careers either in acting, directing or other fields of show business). Hurt at 72 is busier than ever - he and Ray Winstone must be England's busiest actors. I spent an evening with them at the BFI National Film Theatre maybe 2 years ago for the unveiling of their 44 INCH CHEST which they were promoting and were doing a Q&A session - both have made several films since, I now have Hurt's TINKER TAILOR SOLIDER SPY to watch. I used to see him around town a few times too when I worked in London's Regent street for 20 years.

I remember his debut in THE WILD AND THE WILLING in 1962, and soon he was etching those memorable parts on our collective consciousness: Caligula in I CLAUDIUS, Quentin Crisp in THE NAKED CIVIL SERVANT (pity the follow-up AN ENGLISHMAN IN NEW YORK was not quite in the same league), his unbelievably moving John Merrick in THE ELEPHANT MAN, among varied other assorted roles, cropping up here and there in all kinds of films, 10 RILLINGTON PLACE was an amazing performance too, plus his amazing exit in ALIEN, with Julie Christie in 1968's IN SEARCH OF GREGORY (right), in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS and a lead for John Huston in the forgotten SINFUL DAVY, and now he is in the last HARRY POTTER films. He has also been doing Samuel Beckett's KRAPP'S LAST TAPE on stage. His Peanut was a tough east end lag in 44 INCH CHEST with a vile tongue (Melvil Poupaud who impressed me a lot in Ozon's TIME TO LEAVE was the waiter tied up by Ray's gang!). He is also terrific in LOVE AND DEATH ON LONG ISLAND, which I shall be turning to shortly (with other recent 'gay interest' titles). Let's hope we see a lot more of John Hurt, who just gets better and better; what a life he has had too, living all over the place, including a stint in Ireland - a travelling player indeed.

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