Oscar-nominated actor Albert Finney, one of the great British actors of his generation who made a worldwide name for himself in 1963’s Tom Jones and maintained a strong career through 2012’s Skyfall, died Thursday in London. He was 82.
The cause of death, according to The New York Times, was a chest infection. He died at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London Thursday afternoon. In 2011 Finney disclosed he was undergoing treatment for kidney cancer.
Among his Oscar-nominated performances were roles in Tom Jones, Murder on the Orient Express, The Dresser, Under the Volcano and Erin Brockovich.
Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Finney moved quickly into film, gaining immediate acclaim for his 1960 debut in Tony Richardson’s The Entertainer. With that year’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, produced by Richardson but directed by Karel Reisz, Finney secured his position, along with Alan Bates and Tom Courtenay, at the vanguard of British film’s “angry young man” genre. The performance won Finney a BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer To Leading Film Roles.
By 1963, with his charismatic performance as the roguish Tom Jones (another Richardson-directed role), Finney had an Oscar nomination on his resume.
Other highlights of his shape-shifting career include Two for the Road (1967), Scrooge (1970), Annie (1982), The Dresser (1983), Miller’s Crossing (1990), Erin Brockovich (2000), Big Fish (2003), The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007) and The Bourne Legacy (2012).
While his early reputation was staked largely on drama, Finney found some of what would become his most beloved roles in outsized comedic performances, from his mean-as-dirt Ebenezer Scrooge in the 1970 musical version of the Dickens classic, to his Daddy Warbucks in Annie.
On the TV side, Finney made his debut for American television in 1984 with the starring role in Pope John Paul II. He was Emmy-nominated for his role in the 1990 HBO movie The Image, and won the award, along with, among others, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA, for his performance as Winston Churchill in 2002’s HBO-BBC co-production The Gathering Storm.
In addition to his Emmy, two BAFTA Awards and three Golden Globes, Finney, who had long continued to perform on the stage primarily in London, was nominated for two Tony Awards, the first in 1964 for Luther and the second in 1968 for A Day in the Death of Joe Egg.
Finney was married to British actress Jane Wenham from 1957-61 and, from 1970-78 to French actress Anouk Aimee. Since 2006 he was married to Penelope Delmage, who survives him, as does Simon Finney, a camera operator and his son with Wenham.
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