Another one of the cinematic greats is up to that movie studio in the sky…
Legendary British actor Albert Finney, who wowed audiences with roles such as Tom Jones and as Hercule Poirot in the original Murder on the Orient Express, passed away on Feburary 8 at the age of 82.
Albert Finney was born on May 9, 1936 in Pendleton, Salford, England. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and graduated in 1956. It was there that Finney got his start on the stage, which led him to become a member of the world renowned Royal Shakespeare Company. In 1960, Finney made his first film appearance in The Entertainment, opposite the great Laurence Olivier, followed by his breakout role of a disillusioned factory worker in the film adaptation of Alan Stilltoe’s play Saturday Night and Sunday Morning that same year.
In 1963, Finney took on the titular role of that lovable playboy Tom Jones, which would win Best Picture, Best Director (Tony Richardson), Best Original Score, and Best Adapted Screenplay (John Osborne) at the Academy Awards with Finney getting a nomination for his role in the film. He was offered the titular role of Lawrence of Arabia but turned it down after refusing to sign a multi-film deal with the producer, and thus Peter O’Toole ended up getting the role.
Finney decided to focus more on the stage by the late 1960’s and make acting in films an occasional job. He gained rave for his portrayal as Agatha Christie’s master detective Hercule Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express in 1974. He would also play a surgeon who investigates the death of his patients in the sci-fi thriller Looker in 1981 and broke out those theater chops again when he signed on to play Daddy Warbucks in the big screen adaptation of the hit musical Annie in 1982. Finney would continue success both in films and the stage throughout the course of his life.
He won the BAFTA, Emmy, and Golden Globe in 2002 for his stunning portrayal of Winston Churchill in The Gathering Storm. He would also star in a TV series as the titular My Uncle Silas in 2001 and 2003. His final film roles include that of Dr. Albert Hirsch in the Jason Bourne films followed by Kincade in the 23rd James Bond film, Skyfall.
Finney is survived by third wife Pene Delmage and son Simon Finney. World Film Geek sends its condolences to the family of Albert Finney. As a final tribute, here if the legendary Finney talking about his final role, Kincade in Skyfall, courtesy of ST Media.
Rest in Peace, Albert Finney.