Sir John Hurt, most recently known to fandom as the War Doctor (Doctor #8.5 in Doctor Who), had pancreatic cancer at the age of 75. The important operative word here is “had”. He has been given the all clear by doctors less than four months after he disclosed that he had pancreatic cancer.
Best known for his roles in Alien, The Elephant Man, 1984 and the Harry Potter films, Hurt revealed he had overcome the disease to an audience at the Man Booker prize ceremony in London. “I had a final scan and it’s all gone brilliantly,” he was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail. “I had the final scan yesterday [Monday] and I saw my oncologist this morning. I am overjoyed, I am thrilled. It all looks great for the future, it’s fantastic.”
In an interview with the Radio Times in August, he said: “I can’t say I worry about mortality, but it’s impossible to get to my age and not have a little contemplation of it. We’re all just passing time, and occupy our chair very briefly. But my treatment is going terrifically well, so I’m optimistic.”
His notable roles include Caligula in the BBC drama I, Claudius, the wand merchant Mr. Ollivander in the Harry Potter films, and Stephen Ward, a key figure in the Profumo affair, in Scandal. In 2009, he reprised his Naked Civil Servant role of Quentin Crisp in An Englishman in New York.
Most recently, he is reprising his role as the War Doctor from 2013’s Doctor Who 50th anniversary special in three audio plays due out as a box set in December, being published by Big Finish Productions.