26th January 2006, received an honorary Doctorate in Letters from the University of Hull, Yorkshire.
An early passion for acting was triggered when he saw Alec Guinness play Fagin in the film Oliver Twist (1948).
As Winston Smith in 1984 (1984) he portrays a victim of a totalitarian society, with Big Brother as its head. In V for Vendetta (2005), he portrays the "Big Brother"-type leader "Chancellor Sutler".
Father was a vicar in Derbyshire.
Has two sons with Jo Dalton: Nicolas and Alexander.
Has worked with two Boromirs. In Ralph Bakshi's film The Lord of the Rings (1978), he played the voice of "Aragorn", opposite Michael Graham Cox (as "Boromir") who went on to reprise the role for BBC radio. He later appeared in The Field (1990) with Sean Bean, who played the role in Peter Jackson's adaptation.
He did the film History of the World: Part I (1981) because he had just gotten through doing two seriously dramatic films and said that he wanted to have fun and do a comedy.
He is an Associate of RADA.
He lived with Marie-Lise Volpeliere-Pierrot from 1967-83, when she was killed in a riding accident.
He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2004 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to Drama.
His mother opened a school at his father's vicarage when he was five.
His sister became a school teacher in Australia; his brother, the eldest child, a Roman Catholic monk.
Is the youngest of three children.
Once an alcoholic, he quit drinking after his fourth marriage in 2005.
Provided the voice of Aragorn in Ralph Bakshi's film The Lord of the Rings (1978). Though not a financial success, it sparked enough interest in Tolkien's works that the BBC decided to air its own adaptation, and it was also what inspired Peter Jackson to make his live-action films. Both subsequent adaptations featured Ian Holm, with whom Hurt appeared in Alien (1979).
Son of a clergyman.
Studied at RADA.
The make-up he wore to play The Elephant Man (1980) also inspired the appearance of Gothmog in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003).
Trained to become a painter at Grimsby Art School.