Albert Finney

Albert Finney

actor, producer, director

The son of a Lancashire bookmaker, Albert Finney came to motion pictures via the theatre. In 1956, he won a scholarship to RADA where his fellow alumni included Peter O'Toole and Alan Bates. He joined the Birmingham Repertory where he excelled in plays by William Shakespeare. A member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Finney understudied Laurence Olivier at Stratford-upon-Avon, eventually acquiring a reputation as 'the new Olivier'. He first came to critical attention by creating the title role in Keith Waterhouse's "Billy Liar" on the London stage. His film debut soon followed with Le cabotin (1960) by Tony Richardson with whom had earlier worked in the theatre. With the changing emphasis in 60s British cinema towards gritty realism and working-class milieus, Finney's typical screen personae became good-looking, often brooding proletarian types and rebellious anti-heroes as personified by his Arthur Seaton in Karel Reisz's Samedi soir, dimanche matin (1960). His exuberant defining role, however, was in the bawdy period romp Tom Jones : Entre l'alcôve et la potence (1963) in which Finney revealed a substantial talent for comedy. In the same vein, he scored another hit opposite Audrey Hepburn in the charming marital comedy Voyage à deux (1967).By 1965, Finney had branched out into production, setting up Memorial Enterprises in conjunction with Michael Medwin. In 1968, he directed himself in Charlie Bubbles (1968) and three years later produced the Chandleresque homage Gumshoe (1971), in which he also starred as Eddie Ginley, a bingo-caller with delusions of becoming a private eye. From 1972 to 1975, Finney served as artistic director of the Royal Court Theatre. His intermittent forays to the screen confirmed him as a versatile international actor of note, though not what one might describe as a mainstream star. His roles have ranged from Ebenezer Scrooge in the musical version of Scrooge (1970) to Daddy Warbucks in Annie (1982) and (in flamboyant over-the-top make-up) Hercule Poirot in Le crime de l'Orient-Express (1974). He appeared as Minister of Police Joseph Fouché in Ridley Scott's superb period drama Les duellistes (1977) and as a grandiloquent Shakespearean actor in L'habilleur (1983) for which he received an Oscar nomination. For the small screen Finney essayed Pope John Paul II (1984) and was a totally believable Winston Churchill in the acclaimed La tempête qui se prépare (2002). His final movie credit was in the James Bond thriller Skyfall (2012).Finney was five-times nominated for Academy Awards in 1964, 1975, 1984, 1985 and 2001. He won two BAFTA Awards in 1961 and 2004. True to his working-class roots, he spurned a CBE in 1980 and a knighthood in 2000, later explaining his decision by stating that the 'Sir thing' "slightly perpetuates one of our diseases in England, which is snobbery". Albert Finney was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2011. He died on February 7 2019 at a London hospital from a chest infection at the age of 82. Upon his death, John Cleese described him as "the best" and "our greatest actor".

  • Birthday

    May 09, 1936
  • Place of Birth

    Salford, Lancashire, England, UK

Known For

Awards

28 wins & 53 nominations

CinEuphoria Awards
2019
Career - Honorary Award
Winner - CinEuphoria
Online Film & Television Association
2017
Acting
Winner - OFTA Film Hall of Fame
2002
Best Actor in a Motion Picture or Miniseries
Winner - OFTA Television Award
The Gathering Storm (2002)
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Movies & TV Shows

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Movies
TV Shows