Five-time Oscar nominee Albert Finney, best known for his starring roles on Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and Tom Jones, passed away on February 8, 2019 following a short illness. According to a statement, he “passed away peacefully with those closest to him by his side.” The British actor was 82 years old.
Finney was born on May 9, 1936 in Pendleton, England. Following encouragement from by his headmaster at Grammar school, Finney attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and later became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Initially working as a stage actor, Finney starred in Jane Arden’s The Party, before earning the title role in the 1959 production of Coriolanus. He later transitioned to film with a small role in Tony Richardson’s adaptation of The Entertainer. This role led to Finney’s casting as disillusioned factory worker Arthur Seaton in the “kitchen sink drama” Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. “Kitchen sink drama” refers to the 1960s British cultural movement that saw protagonists described as “angry young men” who were disillusioned with modern society. Shortly thereafter, Finney became a household name with his sensual portrayal of the rogue Tom Jones in the the Academy Award-winning 1963 film.
As his celebrity status continued to rise, Finney appeared in Night Must Fall and Two for the Road, before lending his hand as director on the 1968 film Charlie Bubbles. He later starred in such high profile roles as Hercule Poirot in Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, Ebenezer Scrooge in Scrooge and Daddy Warbucks in the musical film Annie. Finney also starred as Finis Everglot, Victoria’s grim and avaricious father in Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride and alongside Julia Roberts in the Steven Soderbergh-directed Erin Brockovich. Before refocusing his efforts on the stage, Finney appeared in Dennis Potter’s final two television dramas, Karaoke and Cold Lazarus. Stage credits for Finney include Roger Waters’ The Wall Concert in Berlin, Much Ado About Nothing, The Cherry Orchard, Luther, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, Love for Love, Miss Julie, Black Comedy, The Country Wife, Alpha Beta, Krapp’s Last Tape, Tamburlaine the Great, Another Time, and Art.
Finney later won the Olivier Award, for Best Actor, for Orphans in 1986, in addition to three Evening Standard Theatre Awards for Best Actor in A Flea in Her Ear, Tamburlaine the Great and Orphans. His 2002 portrayal of Winston Churchill in HBO’s The Gathering Storm won him BAFTA and Emmy awards as Best Actor. Throughout his career, Finney earned 13 BAFTA nominations (winning two), nine Golden Globe nominations (winning three), five Oscar nominations, and two Tony Award nominations. According to IMDB, Finney’s final acting credit came as gamekeeper Kincade in the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall.
He was married three times, first to actors Jane Wenham (1957 to 1961) and Anouk Aimeé (1970 to 1978) and finally to travel agent Pene Delmage. Finney is survived by Delmage and his son Simon, from his first marriage.