Albert Finney died in London at age 82 from a chest infection.
The great British actor’s family confirmed his death to the Associated Press Friday morning, saying he “passed away peacefully after a short illness with those closest to him by his side.”
A graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (and born the same day, May 9, 1936, as fellow graduate Glenda Jackson), Finney made his mark on cinema in the classic Karel Reisz film “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning” (1960), a stellar example of kitchen-sink realism that portrayed the frustrations of British working-class youth facing a bleak future, and
Finney also had an illustrious career in the theater, as evidenced by his inclusion in a postage stamp series commemorating the 200th anniversary of London’s Old Vic theater (his stamp is for the John Osborne drama “Luther”).
Finney was nominated five times for the Academy Award and never attended the ceremony, saying it was “waste of time” to sit at such a “long party” without a cigarette or a drink.
Although he’s best-known to American audiences for films such as “Annie” and “Erin Brockovich,” his body of work was about so much more than that. Here are some of his greatest roles to seek out on TV and streaming services:
“Saturday Night and Sunday Morning” (1960) Albert Finney in “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning,” his breakthrough film role in 1960.Everett Collection
“I was the first man to be seen sleeping with another man’s wife in an English film,” said Finney of his role as Arthur, a hard-living factor worker juggling affairs with two women while living at home.
“Tom Jones” (1963) Albert Finney with Susannah York in 1963’s “Tom Jones.”Courtesy Everett Collection
Finney won his first Oscar nomination (and a New York Film Critics award) in the title role of the uproarious film adaptation of Henry Fielding’s sprawling, 18th-century picaresque novel about a young man who is the adopted bastard of a nobleman. The film’s justifiably famous eating scene is a potent visual on the role of food as seduction.
“Murder on the Orient Express” (1974) Albert Finney led the star-studded cast of “Murder on the Orient Express” in 1974.Courtesy Everett Collection
Finney was the third choice, after Oscar winners Alec Guinness and Paul Scofield, to play scrupulously vain detective Hercule Poirot in Sidney Lumet’s sumptuous, all-star adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novel based on the Lindbergh kidnapping, but played the role with such relish that he was nominated for Best Actor.
“Under the Volcano” (1984) Albert Finney battles the bottle in John Huston’s “Under the Volcano.”Everett Collection
John Huston directed Finney as Geoffrey Firmin, a depressed British consul who is coming apart at the seams and losing his battle with the bottle. The role brought Finney his fourth Oscar nomination.
“The Gathering Storm” (2002) Albert Finney faces the parliament as Winston Churchill in “The Gathering Storm.”Everett Collection
Winston Churchill is a foolproof part for actors — just ask John Lithgow, who won an Emmy for playing the British statesman on Season 1 of “The Crown,” or Gary Oldman, who won an Oscar for playing him in “The Darkest Hour.” Finney won a Golden Globe for his turn as Churchill in this HBO movie about Churchill in the 1930s, when he was the first to recognize Hitler’s threat to the world.