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One of Hollywood's Finest

One of Hollywood's FinestWith close to 100 film, TV and stage credits to his name, Tufts graduate William Hurt is one of Hollywood's most respected and versatile talents. Hollywood.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [03.11.02] Just a year after William Hurt's big screen debut, Newsweek Magazine described the Tufts graduate as a representation of the new breed of American actors focused more on their craft than their celebrity. Nearly 50 film and TV roles later, Hurt continues to show his versatility as an actor and his reluctance to embrace his fame.

"I know what I love about acting -- and it's the creative process," Hurt told the Vancouver Sun. "If you're lucky, and not a lot of actors are these days, you get the chance to create a character. You find a certain human truth and build on it, and it's really quite mysterious when it happens."

Throughout his career -- which has spanned the three decades since he graduated from Tufts -- Hurt has created an eclectic group of memorable characters.

From his portrayal of a flamboyant transvestite in "Kiss of the Spider Woman" -- which earned him an Oscar -- to his role as a visionary scientist in Steven Spielberg's "A.I.," Hurt has carefully chosen a wide range of compelling parts.

"I think acting can bring you closer to yourself and help you understand other people," Hurt told the Vancouver Sun in an interview from the set of his new movie "Rare Birds.""For me, it's been a way of learning to identify with people -- it brings you out of yourself."

The process started while Hurt was a student at Tufts.

Originally a theology student at Tufts, the theater captured Hurt's attention as an undergraduate. He went on to train at Juilliard in New York City before establishing himself as a talented young stage actor.

"The perfection in theater is that it's over the second it's done," he told Newsweek Magazine in 1981. The same year, the New York Times listed Hurt among the year's top 12 actors to watch.

Just two years later, the Tufts graduate earned the first of three-straight Academy Award nominations -- a feat that was unmatched by any other actor for almost 20 years.

But mainstream success doesn't seem to have changed Hurt, who has gained a reputation for avoiding parts that are watered down in order to achieve box office success.

"Besides being choosy and often admirably offbeat in his choice of material, Hurt is foremost an actor intensely committed to his role, his craft and his script, an actor who, even if the results sometimes suggested otherwise, dislikes the notion of making agreeable but bland pabulum for the masses," reported Hollywood.com.

For Hurt, fame plays little part in his success.

"Sometimes people call me a success for all the reasons that make me think I'm a failure," he told the Sun. "Being famous is not something that would make me feel successful -- unless one was striving for mediocrity. Being a father, being a friend, those are the things that make me feel successful."

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