R.I.P. Albert Finney (1936 – 2019)

The award winning actor Albert Finney has passed away at 82 after battling cancer of the kidney.

Famous for his role in the movie adaptation of Alan Sillitoe’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Finney had a long and successful career in both the UK and Hollywood.

Born in Charlestown suburb of Salford in 1936, Finney graduated from London’s prestigious acting school the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) at the 20. Upon graduation, the young Finney became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and won rave reviews in the Charles Laughton directed The Party. In 1959, Finney replaced Laurence Olivier in Corialanus at Stratford after the actor became ill.

His first film role came in 1960 with a part in John Osborne’s The Entertainer, directed by Tony Richardson and starring Olivier. But it was as the Nottingham beer swilling and womanising factory worker, Arthur Seaton, in the Karel Reisz directed Saturday Night and Sunday Morning that established Finney’s Career. The drama cemented Finney as a poster boy in the role of the angry young man and the film, arguably, kickstarted the kitchen sink drama boom of the 60’s.

Finney went from success to success, winning critical acclaim in Richardson’s bawdy historical movie, Tom Jones. He was originally chosen as the lead in David Lean’s epic Lawrence of Arabia but backed out after not wanting to sign a multi-picture deal.

After focusing more on stage work, the actor made few films, the most notable being as Ebenezer Scrooge in the 1970 musical, “Scrooge”. In 1974, he starred as Hercule Poirot in Agatha Christine’s Murder on the Orient Express, a part which he would later lament had him typecast. Another musical role, eventually came his way in 1980 with John Huston’s “Annie”. The following year, Finney won the lead in the Michael Wadleigh horror Wolfen. A steady flow of work through the 1980’s and 1990’s saw the actor working for the BBC, stage roles, and another singing part as The Judge in Roger Waters’ stage extravaganza The Wall.

From the late 1990’s until his death, Finney’s appearances on the big screen became less frequent, with his most notable roles in Erin Brockovich, Traffic and Corpse Bride. Despite this, he still appeared in the blockbusters The Bourne Ultimatum, The Bourne Legacy and his final film role, Skyfall.

The multi-award winning actor was married three times, his last being to travel agent Penelope Delmage. He had a son from his first marriage and refused a CBE and knighthood in 1980 and 2000, respectively.


What are some of your favorite Albert Finney roles?