Albert Finney

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Albert Finney
Albert Finney 1966.jpg
Born (1936-05-09)9 May 1936
Salford, England
Died 7 February 2019(2019-02-07) (aged 82)
London, England
Education Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
Occupation Actor
Years active 1956–2012
Spouse(s)
Jane Wenham
(m. 1957; div. 1961)

Anouk Aimée
(m. 1970; div. 1978)

Pene Delmage (m. 2006)
Children 1

Albert Finney Jr. (9 May 1936 – 7 February 2019) was an English actor who worked in film, television and theatre. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and worked in the theatre before attaining prominence on screen in the early 1960s, debuting with The Entertainer (1960), directed by Tony Richardson, who had previously directed him in the theatre. He maintained a successful career in theatre, film and television.

He is known for his roles in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (also 1960), Tom Jones (1963), Two for the Road (1967), Scrooge (1970), Annie (1982), The Dresser (1983), Miller's Crossing (1990), A Man of No Importance (1994), Erin Brockovich (2000), Big Fish (2003), The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007), The Bourne Legacy (2012), and the James Bond film Skyfall (2012).

A recipient of BAFTA , Golden Globe, Emmy and Screen Actors Guild awards, Finney was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor four times, for Tom Jones (1963), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), The Dresser (1983), and Under the Volcano (1984); he was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Erin Brockovich (2000). His performance as Winston Churchill in the BBCHBO television biographical film The Gathering Storm (2002) saw him receive a number of accolades.

Early life

Finney was born in Salford, Lancashire, the son of Alice (née Hobson) and Albert Finney, a bookmaker.[1] He was educated at Tootal Drive Primary School, Salford Grammar School and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), from which he graduated in 1956.[2]

Career

While at RADA Finney made an early TV appearance playing Mr Hardcastle in Oliver Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer. The BBC filmed and broadcast the RADA students' performances at the Vanbrugh Theatre in London on Friday 6 January 1956. Other members of the cast included Roy Kinnear and Richard Briers.[3][4] In February 1956 John Fernald, principal of RADA, gave Finney his first major role in the Vanbrugh Theatre's student production of Ian Dallas' play The Face of Love, as Shakespeare's Troilus.[5] Finney graduated from RADA and became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. His career began in the theatre, and he made his first appearance on the London stage in 1958, in Jane Arden's The Party, directed by Charles Laughton, who starred in the production along with his wife, Elsa Lanchester. Then, in 1959, he appeared at Stratford in the title role in Coriolanus, replacing an ill Laurence Olivier.[6] Finney created the title role in Luther, the 1961 play by John Osborne depicting the life of Martin Luther, one of the foremost instigators of the Protestant Reformation. He performed the role with the English Stage Company in London, Nottingham, Paris and New York.[7]

His first film appearance was in Tony Richardson's The Entertainer (1960), with Laurence Olivier, and he made his breakthrough in the same year with his portrayal of a disillusioned factory worker in Karel Reisz's film version of Alan Sillitoe's Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (also 1960). This led to his starring in the Academy Award-winning 1963 film Tom Jones. Prior to this, Finney had been chosen to play T. E. Lawrence in David Lean's production of Lawrence of Arabia after a successful, and elaborate, screen-test that took four days to shoot. However, Finney baulked at signing a multi-year contract for producer Sam Spiegel and chose not to accept the role.[8] The success of Tom Jones saw British exhibitors vote Finney the ninth most popular star at the box office in 1963.[9] After Charlie Bubbles (1968), which he also directed, his film appearances became less frequent as he focused more on acting on stage. During this period, one of his high-profile film roles was as Agatha Christie's Belgian master detective Hercule Poirot in the film Murder on the Orient Express (1974). Finney became so well known for the role that he complained that it typecast him for a number of years. "People really do think I am 300 pounds with a French accent", he said.[10]

While being known for his dramatic roles, Finney appeared and sang in two musical films: Scrooge (1970) and the Hollywood film version of Annie (1982), which was directed by John Huston, who then directed him once again in Under the Volcano (1984) two years later.[11] He also sang in Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (2005).[12] Finney made several television productions for the BBC in the 1990s, including The Green Man (1990), based on a novel by Kingsley Amis,[13] the drama A Rather English Marriage (1998) (with Tom Courtenay),[14] and the lead role in Dennis Potter's final two plays, Karaoke (1996) and Cold Lazarus (both 1996). In the latter he played a frozen, disembodied head.[15][16] Finney also made an appearance at Roger Waters' The Wall – Live in Berlin, where he played "The Judge" during the performance of "The Trial".[17] Even with his success on the big screen, Finney never abandoned his stage performances. He continued his association with the National Theatre Company at the Old Vic in London, where he performed in the mid-1960s in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing and Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard.

He received Tony Award nominations for Luther (1964) and A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (1968),[11] and also starred on stage in Love for Love, Strindberg's Miss Julie, Black Comedy, The Country Wife, Alpha Beta, Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape, Tamburlaine the Great, Another Time and, his last stage appearance, in 1997, "Art" by Yasmina Reza, which preceded the 1998 Tony Award-winning Broadway run. He won an Olivier Award for Orphans in 1986 and won three Evening Standard Theatre Awards for Best Actor.[18] Finney also directed and played the lead role of Sidney Kentridge in The Biko Inquest, a 1984 dramatisation of the inquest into the death of Steve Biko which was filmed for TV following a London run.[19] In 1994, Finney played a gay bus conductor in early 1960s Dublin in A Man of No Importance.[20] In 2002 his critically acclaimed portrayal of Winston Churchill in The Gathering Storm won him British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), Emmy and Golden Globe awards as Best Actor.[11] [21][22] He also played the title role in the television series My Uncle Silas, based on the short stories by H. E. Bates, about a roguish but lovable poacher-cum-farm labourer looking after his great-nephew. The show ran for two series broadcast in 2001 and 2003.[23]

A lifelong supporter of Manchester United, Finney narrated the documentary Munich, about the air crash that killed most of the Busby Babes in 1958, which was shown on United's TV channel MUTV in February 2008.[24]

Personal life

With his first wife, Jane Wenham, he had a son,[11] who works in the film industry as a camera operator.[25] From 1970 to 1978, he was married to French actress Anouk Aimée. From 2006 until his death, Finney was married to travel agent Penelope Delmage.[25][11] In May 2011, Finney disclosed that he had been receiving treatment for kidney cancer.[26] According to a 2012 interview he had been diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2007 and underwent surgery, followed by six rounds of chemotherapy.[27]

Death

Finney died from a chest infection on 7 February 2019, at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, at the age of 82.[28][29][30]

Awards and honours

Finney in 1966

Finney turned down the offer of a CBE in 1980, and a knighthood in 2000. He criticised the honours system for "perpetuating snobbery".[31]

He received five Oscar nominations but never won. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor four times, for Tom Jones (1963), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), The Dresser (1983), and Under the Volcano (1984); and once for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Erin Brockovich (2000).[11]

Julia Roberts mentioned Finney in her Oscar acceptance speech for Best Actress in Erin Brockovich, calling him a "pleasure to act with".[32]

Finney received 13 BAFTA nominations (nine film, four TV), winning two:[11]

In addition Finney received the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award in 2001.[33]

He won an Emmy Award, for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Made for TV Movie, for his performance as Winston Churchill in HBO's The Gathering Storm.[22] He had previously been nominated for the HBO telefilm The Image (1990).[34]

He received nine Golden Globe Award nominations, winning three:[35]

  • 1963 Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for Tom Jones
  • 1963 Most Promising Newcomer (Male) for Tom Jones — Won
  • 1970 Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for Scrooge — Won
  • 1982 Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama for Shoot the Moon
  • 1983 Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama for The Dresser
  • 1984 Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama for Under the Volcano
  • 2000 Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for Erin Brockovich
  • 2002 Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television for The Gathering StormWon
  • 2003 Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for Big Fish

For his work on Broadway, Finney was nominated for two Tony Awards, both for Best Actor in a Play, for Luther in 1964, and A Day in the Death of Joe Egg in 1968.[11] For the London stage, he won the Laurence Olivier Award, for Best Actor, for Orphans in 1986.[36] He won the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actor three times, for A Flea in Her Ear in 1966, Tamburlaine the Great in 1976 and Orphans in 1986.[37]

Other awards include: a Golden Laurel for his work on Scrooge (1970) and for his work on Tom Jones, for which he was the 3rd Place Winner for the "Top Male Comedy Performance" for 1964. He was honoured by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association as Best Actor for Under the Volcano (which he tied with F. Murray Abraham for Amadeus),[38] the National Board of Review Best Actor award for Saturday Night and Sunday Morning,[39] and the New York Film Critics Circle Best Actor award for Tom Jones.[40]

Finney won two Screen Actors Guild Awards, for Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role, for Erin Brockovich, and as a member of the acting ensemble in the film Traffic. He was also nominated for The Gathering Storm, for Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries, but did not win.[41][42]

He won the Silver Berlin Bear award for Best Actor, for The Dresser, at the 34th Berlin International Film Festival in 1984.[43]

He won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor, for Tom Jones, at the Venice Film Festival.[44]

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1960 The Entertainer Mick Rice [45]
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning Arthur Seaton BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles
Mar del Plata International Film Festival Award for Best Actor
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best British Actor
[45]
1963 Tom Jones Tom Jones Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer – Male
Volpi Cup for Best Actor
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best British Actor
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Musical or Comedy
Nominated – Golden Laurel Award for Top Male Comedic Performance
[45]
The Victors Russian Soldier [45]
1964 Night Must Fall Danny [45]
1967 Two for the Road Mark Wallace [45]
1968 Charlie Bubbles Charlie Bubbles Also director[45] [45]
1969 The Picasso Summer George Smith [45]
1970 Scrooge Ebenezer Scrooge Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Musical or Comedy
Nominated – Golden Laurel Award for Top Male Comedic Performance
[45]
1971 Gumshoe Eddie Ginley Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role [45]
1974 Alpha Beta Frank Elliot
Murder on the Orient Express Hercule Poirot Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
[45]
1975 The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother Man in opera audience Cameo; uncredited
1977 The Duellists Fouche [46]
1981 Loophole Mike Daniels [45]
Wolfen Dewey Wilson Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Actor [45]
Looker Dr. Larry Roberts [45]
1982 Shoot the Moon George Dunlap Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Drama
[45]
Annie Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks [45]
1983 The Dresser Sir Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Drama
Nominated – Silver Berlin Bear for Best Actor
[45]
1984 Under the Volcano Geoffrey Firmin Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Drama
Nominated – Joseph Plateau Award for Best Actor
Nominated – National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
[45]
1987 Orphans Harold [45]
1990 Miller's Crossing Leo O'Bannon [45]
Roger Waters – The Wall – Live in Berlin The Judge [46]
1992 The Playboys Constable Brendan Hegarty [45]
1993 Rich in Love Warren Odom [45]
1994 The Browning Version Andrew Crocker-Harris [45]
A Man of No Importance Alfred Byrne [45]
1995 The Run of the Country Danny's Father
1997 Washington Square Dr. Austin Sloper [45]
1999 Breakfast of Champions Kilgore Trout [45]
Simpatico Simms [45]
2000 Erin Brockovich Ed Masry SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor
[45]
Traffic White House Chief of Staff SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture [45]
2001 Delivering Milo Elmore Dahl
2003 Big Fish Edward Bloom, Sr. Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Actor
[45]
2004 Ocean's Twelve Gaspar LeMarc Uncredited cameo [46]
2005 Corpse Bride Finis Everglot Voice [45]
2006 A Good Year Uncle Henry Skinner [45]
Amazing Grace John Newton [45]
2007 The Bourne Ultimatum Dr. Albert Hirsch [45]
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead Charles Hanson Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Ensemble Performance [45]
2012 The Bourne Legacy Dr. Albert Hirsch [45]
Skyfall Kincade [45]

Television

Year Title Role Notes Ref
1959 Emergency – Ward 10 Tom Fletcher 4 episodes [47]
1984 Pope John Paul II Karol Wojtyła, Pope John Paul II Television movie [48]
1989 The Endless Game Agent, Alec Hillsden TV miniseries (2 episodes) [49]
1990 The Image Jason Cromwell Television movie
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
[50]
The Green Man Maurice Allington 3 episodes
Nominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Actor
[13]
1996 Karaoke Daniel Feeld 4 episodes
Nominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Actor
[50]
Cold Lazarus [50]
1997 Nostromo Dr. Monygham 4 episodes [51]
1998 A Rather English Marriage Reggie Television movie
Nominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Actor
[14]
2001–03 My Uncle Silas Uncle Silas 9 episodes [50]
2002 The Gathering Storm Winston Churchill Television movie
British Academy Television Award for Best Actor
Broadcasting Press Guild Award for Best Actor
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated – SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
[11]

Theatre

Year Title Role Theatre Ref.
1956 Henry V King Henry Birmingham Repertory Theatre
1958 The Party Soya New Theatre
1959 Coriolanus Coriolanus Royal Shakespeare Theatre
1961 Luther Martin Luther Royal Court Theatre
1963 Lunt-Fontanne Theatre [52]
1965 Black Comedy Harold Gorringe Old Vic Theatre
Much Ado About Nothing Don Pedro Old Vic Theatre
1965-1966 Miss Julie Jean Old Vic Theatre [53]
1966 A Flea in Her Ear Victor Emmanuel Chandebise Old Vic Theatre
1968 A Day in the Death of Joe Egg Bri Brooks Atkinson Theatre [54]
1976 Hamlet Prince Hamlet Royal National Theatre
Tamburlaine Tamburlaine
1978 The Cherry Orchard Lopakhin Royal National Theatre
1984 Serjeant Musgrave's Dance Serjeant Musgrave Old Vic Theatre
1986 Orphans Harold Apollo Theatre
1996 'Art' Marc Wyndham's Theatre [55]

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Nominated work Result Ref
1961 BAFTA Awards Best British Actor Saturday Night and Sunday Morning Nominated [56]
Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles Won [56]
National Board of Review Best Actor Won [39]
Mar del Plata International Film Festival Best Actor Won [57]
1964 Academy Awards Best Actor Tom Jones Nominated [58]
BAFTA Awards Best British Actor Nominated [59]
Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Nominated [35]
New Star of the Year – Actor Won [35]
Tony Awards Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play Luther Nominated [60]
1968 A Day in the Death of Joe Egg Nominated [60]
1971 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Scrooge Won [35]
1972 BAFTA Awards Best Actor Gumshoe Nominated [61]
1975 Academy Awards Best Actor Murder on the Orient Express Nominated [62]
BAFTA Awards Best Actor Nominated [63]
1976 Olivier Awards Best Actor in a Revival Hamlet and Tamburlaine the Great Nominated [2]
1982 Saturn Awards Best Actor Wolfen Nominated [64]
1983 BAFTA Awards Best Actor Shoot the Moon Nominated [65]
Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Nominated [66]
1984 Academy Awards Best Actor The Dresser Nominated [67]
Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Nominated [68]
1985 Academy Awards Best Actor Under the Volcano Nominated [69]
BAFTA Awards Best Actor The Dresser Nominated [70]
Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Under the Volcano Nominated [71]
London Film Critics' Circle Awards Actor of the Year Won [72]
1986 Olivier Awards Best Actor Orphans Won [36]
1990 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie The Image Nominated [34]
1991 BAFTA TV Awards Best Actor on Television The Green Man Nominated [73]
1994 Boston Society of Film Critics Awards Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor The Browning Version Won [74]
1997 BAFTA TV Awards Best Actor on Television Cold Lazarus Nominated [75]
Karaoke Nominated [75]
1999 A Rather English Marriage Nominated [76]
2000 Boston Society of Film Critics Awards Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor Erin Brockovich Nominated [77]
2001 Academy Awards Best Supporting Actor Nominated [78]
BAFTA Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated [79]
Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Supporting Actor – Drama Nominated [80]
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Supporting Actor Nominated [81]
Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Nominated [82]
London Film Critics' Circle Awards British Supporting Actor of the Year Won [83]
Online Film Critics Society Awards Best Supporting Actor Nominated [84]
Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Nominated [85]
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Traffic Won [42]
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role Erin Brockovich Won [42]
2002 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie The Gathering Storm Won [22]
2003 BAFTA TV Awards Best Actor on Television Won [86]
Broadcasting Press Guild Awards Best Actor Won [87]
Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Won [88]
Satellite Awards Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film Nominated [89]
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie Nominated [41]
2004 BAFTA Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role Big Fish Nominated [90]
Golden Globe Awards Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Nominated [91]
Saturn Awards Best Actor Nominated [92]
2007 Gotham Awards Best Ensemble Cast Before the Devil Knows You're Dead Won [93]
2008 Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Best Cast Nominated [94]
London Film Critics' Circle Awards British Supporting Actor of the Year Nominated [95]

References

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  95. ^ Mitchell, Wendy. "Control, Atonement lead London Critics' Circle nominations". Screen Daily. Retrieved 9 February 2019.

Further reading

  • Hershman, Gabriel. Strolling Player – The Life and Career of Albert Finney The History Press, 2017, ISBN 9780750978866

External links

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