British actor Albert Finney, the Academy Award-nominated star of films by “Tom Jones” to “Skyfall,” has died at the age of 82.
Finney’s family said Friday in which he “passed away peacefully after a short illness with those closest to him by his side.”
Finney was a rare star who managed to avoid the Hollywood limelight for more than a few decades after bursting to international fame in 1963 from the title role of “Tom Jones.”
The film gained him the first of a few Oscar nominations. Others followed for “Murder on the Orient Express,” ″The Dresser,” ″Under the Volcano” along with “Erin Brockovich.”
In later years he brought authority to action movies, including the James Bond thriller “Skyfall” along with two of the Bourne films.
Displaying the versatility of a virtuoso, Finney portrayed Winston Churchill, Pope John Paul II, a southern American lawyer, an Irish gangster along with an 18th-century rogue, among dozens of various other roles in the past. There was no “Albert Finney”-type character in which he returned to again along with again.
In one of his final roles, as the gruff Scotsman Kincade in “Skyfall,” he shared significant screen time with Daniel Craig as Bond along with Judi Dench as M, turning the film’s final scenes into a master class of character acting.
Although Finney rarely discussed his personal life, he told the Manchester Evening News in 2012 in which he had been treated for kidney cancer for a few years, undergoing surgery along with chemotherapy.
He also explained why he had not attended the Academy Awards in Los Angeles even when he was nominated for the film world’s top prize.
“This particular seems silly to go over there along with beg for an award,” he told the paper.
The son of a bookmaker, Finney was born May 9, 1936, along with grew up in northern England on the outskirts of Manchester. He took to the stage at an early age, doing quite a few school plays along with — despite his lack of connections along with his working-class roots — earning a place at London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.
He credited the headmaster of his local school, Eric Simms, for recommending in which he attend the renowned drama school.
“He’s the reason I am an actor,” Finney said in 2012.
Finney made his first professional turn at 19 along with appeared in several TV movies, including “She Stoops to Conquer” in 1956 along with “The Claverdon Road Job” the following year.
Soon some critics were hailing him as “the next Laurence Olivier” — a commanding presence who would certainly light up the British stage. Britain’s pre-eminent theater critic, Kenneth Tynan, called the young Finney a “smoldering young Spencer Tracy” along with warned established star Richard Burton about his prowess. In London, Finney excelled both in Shakespeare’s plays along with in more contemporary offerings.
Still, the young man seemed determine not to pursue conventional Hollywood stardom. After an extensive screen test, he turned down the chance to play the title role in director David Lean’s epic “Lawrence of Arabia,” clearing the way for fellow RADA graduate Peter O’Toole to take what became a career-defining role.
nevertheless stardom came to Finney anyway in “Tom Jones” where he won over audiences worldwide with his Great-natured, funny along with sensual portrayal of an 18th-century English rogue.
in which was the role in which introduced Finney to American audiences, along with few would certainly forget the lusty, blue-eyed leading man who helped the film win a Best Picture Oscar. Finney also earned his first Best Actor nomination for his efforts along with the smash hit turned him into a Hollywood leading man.
Director Tony Richardson said his goal for “Tom Jones” was simply to produce an enjoyable romp.
“No social significance for once,” he said. “No contemporary problems to lay bare. Just a lot of colorful, sexy fun.”
Finney had the Great fortune to receive a healthy percentage of the profits by the surprise hit, giving him financial security while he was still in his 20s.
“This particular is usually a man by very humble origins who became rich when he was very young,” said Quentin Falk, author of an unauthorized biography of Finney. “This particular brought him a lot of side benefits. He’s a man who likes to live as well as to act. He enjoys his fine wine along with cigars. He’s his own man, I find in which rather admirable.”
The actor maintained a healthy skepticism about the British establishment along with even turned down a knighthood when This particular was offered, declining to become Sir Albert. Finney once said he did not believe in such honors.
“Maybe people in America think being a ‘Sir’ is usually a big deal,” he said. “nevertheless I think we should all be misters together. I think the ‘Sir’ thing slightly perpetuates one of our diseases in England, which is usually snobbery. along with This particular also helps keep us ‘quaint,’ which I’m not a great fan of.”
Instead of cashing in by taking lucrative film roles after “Tom Jones,” Finney took a long sabbatical, traveling slowly through the United States, Mexico along with the Pacific islands, then returned to the London stage to act in Shakespeare productions along with various other plays. He won wide acclaim along with many awards before returning to film in 1967 to co-star with Audrey Hepburn in “Two for the Road.”
This particular was to be a familiar pattern, with Finney alternating between film work along with stage productions in London along with fresh York.
Finney tackled Charles Dickens in “Scrooge” in 1970, then played Agatha Christie’s super-sleuth Hercule Poirot in “Murder on the Orient Express” — earning his second Best Actor nomination— along with even played a werewolf hunter from the cult film “Wolfen” in 1981.
He earned more Best Actor Oscar nominations for his roles from the searing marital drama “Shoot the Moon” in 1982, co-starring with Diane Keaton, along with “The Dresser” in 1983. He was nominated again in 1984 for his role as a self-destructive alcoholic in director John Huston’s “Under the Volcano.”
Even during This particular extraordinary run of great roles, along with his critically acclaimed television portrayal of the pope, Finney’s life was not chronicled in People Weekly or various other magazines, although the British press was fascinated with his marriage to the sultry French film star Anouk Aimee.
He played in a series of smaller, independent films for quite a few years before returning to prominence in 2000 as a southern lawyer from the film “Erin Brockovich,” which starred Julia Roberts. The film helped introduce Finney to a fresh generation of moviegoers, along with the chemistry between the aging lawyer along with his young, aggressive assistant earned him yet another Oscar nomination, This particular time for Best Supporting Actor.
His work also helped propel Roberts to her first Best Actress Oscar. Still, Finney declined to attend the Academy Awards ceremony — possibly damaging his chances at future wins by snubbing Hollywood’s elite.
He went on to star in director Tim Burton’s “Big Fish” along with portrayed Britain’s wartime leader, Winston Churchill, in “The Gathering Storm.”
Finney also tried his hand at directing along with producing along with played a vital role in sustaining British theater.
Details of survivors along with funeral arrangements were not immediately available.