This story contains descriptions of domestic violence and rape.
The death of actor William Hurt has brought to the surface allegations of former partners Marlee Matlin and Sandra Jennings of physically raping the women in his life.
Now another former lover is talking about her experience of being beaten by the Academy Award winner, whose career was unscathed by stories of cruel violence.
In an essay for varietywriter and domestic violence activist Donna Kaz relives how her love affair with him in the late 1970s turned into torture that only ended when he dumped her as her career took off.
Kaz says that after meeting at a Manhattan restaurant where she worked, Hurt invited her to go with him to Los Angeles, where he was filming. Altered States.
“We lived in a beachfront bungalow in Malibu. On her days off, we swam, read poetry, and made love. But our relationship quickly turned into a different cycle, “she wrote.
“Bill snapped, pushed physically, punched me and beat me, followed by tears, apologies and him offering me expensive gifts. When the beatings started, I chased him away. He said he was sorry. Maybe I instigated him. I only had to visit the ER once. It was only after many, many years that I admitted to myself that I was a victim of domestic violence ”.
Kaz writes that she stayed in touch with Hurt after he left her in 1980, never realizing she was abused until she started volunteering for an emergency hotline.
“While other volunteers presented themselves as survivors, it struck me that I too was a survivor,” she wrote.
In 1989, Sandra Jennings, who had a child with Hurt and sued him for palimoniality, claimed he was physically and verbally abusive and had “smashed her in the face” five days after giving birth.
“He was going to have a drink and change his personality,” Jennings said at the time. “Then, when he didn’t drink for a couple of days, he got violent. I started seeing him, which is why I started going to Al-Anon meetings. But at that moment he absolutely refused to talk about it, or to take it into consideration. “
In 2010, Matlin went public with his stories of abuse at the hands of Hurt in his memoirs, recalling how he scolded her in a limo after winning an Oscar, asking her, “What makes you think you deserve it?”
But Matlin described an even more horrifying scene he said took place when Hurt got home from Broadcasting of news he got drunk and woke her up.
“The next thing I realized was pulling me out of bed, yelling at me, shaking me. I was afraid, I was sobbing. Then she threw me on the bed, she started tearing her clothes and mine. I was crying. “No, no, no. Please Bill, no. ‘ The next thing I remember is that Bill rammed himself inside me while I was sobbing, ”wrote Matlin
Of the last time he beat her, he recalled: “The fight turned violent. I was afraid I wouldn’t survive. I broke free and ran to the phone … Before I could say anything, Bill snatched the phone from my hand. and threw it down, left it later.
Hurt denied abusing Jennings, but of Matlin’s allegations, he said, “My recollection is that we both apologized and we both did a lot to heal our lives. Of course I did and I apologize for the pain I caused. And I know we’ve both grown up. I wish Marlee and her family nothing but good.
Hurt, who had been battling metastatic prostate cancer for several years, died on March 13, triggering an outpouring of braces. Kaz said he had to “prevent his memory from sitting next to me and abusing me one more time”.
“To write this I had to let it live again for a moment or two. And in that moment there was pain, regret, anger and a dream of reconciliation that will never happen, “she wrote.
“I am ambivalent that my chance at reconciliation with William Hurt will never be. I feel lucky to have survived and won it. I am thrilled to be still alive to tell my truth.