Tuesday 16 July 2019

Film and theatre acting great Albert Finney (82) dies

Tributes: Praise for the late Albert Finney poured in after his death yesterday. Photo: William Conran/PA Wire
Tributes: Praise for the late Albert Finney poured in after his death yesterday. Photo: William Conran/PA Wire

Stephen Addison

British actor Albert Finney, who rose to fame on a post-war wave of gritty, working-class dramas and became an Oscar-nominated international star, has died at the age of 82 after a short illness.

Born in Salford, Greater Manchester, in 1936, he began his career as a Shakespearean theatre actor.

He made his name in 1960 with 'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning', one of a new generation of down-to-earth British films dubbed kitchen-sink dramas in which he played an angry young factory worker.

His fame spread when he was cast as the lead in bawdy historical romp 'Tom Jones' in 1963, which won four Oscars including Best Picture and brought Finney the first of four nominations for Best Actor.

Finney, who twice refused official honours including a knighthood, also starred as Hercule Poirot in 'Murder on the Orient Express' (1974) and appeared in 'Erin Brockovich' (2000) - for which he was nominated as Best Supporting Actor - and the James Bond film 'Skyfall' (2012).

He continued to grace the stage, where he won two Tony awards, and tackled meaty Shakespearean roles including 'King Lear', 'Hamlet' and 'Macbeth'.

"His performances in plays by Shakespeare, Chekhov and other iconic playwrights throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s stand apart as some of the greatest in our 200-year history," London's Old Vic Theatre said on Twitter.

Finney revealed in 2011 he had been suffering from kidney cancer.

Daniel Craig, current incumbent of the James Bond franchise, said "the world has lost a giant".

Referencing Finney's turn in as 007's gruff gamekeeper in the acclaimed 'Skyfall', he added: "Wherever Albert is now, I hope there are horses and good company."

Celebrities from the world of comedy, television, film and theatre also posted messages online after the news broke.

Bernadette Peters starred opposite Finney as Lily St Regis, Rooster's girlfriend, in the 1982 film of 'Annie'. She said: "I had the great pleasure of working with him on 'Annie' the movie. Who could forget him in Tom Jones."

Finney was married three times, to actresses Jane Wenham and Anouk Aimée between 1957-61 and 1970-78 respectively, and travel agent Pene Delmage in 2006.

He is survived by Delmage and his son Simon, from his first marriage.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News