Albert Finney, English Legend of Stage and Screen, Dead at 82

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Albert Finney, English Legend of Stage and Screen, Dead at 82

Renowned English actor Albert Finney, a five-time Oscar nominee best known for roles in films like Tom Jones, Murder on the Orient Express, The Dresser, Erin Brockovich, Big Fish and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, has died aged 82. Finney, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2007, “passed away peacefully after a short illness with those closest to him by his side,” as his family told the AP on Friday.

Born May 9, 1936, in Manchester, England, Finney attended drama school and began his career on the London stage, appearing in his first TV movie She Stoops to Conquer in 1956 and making his feature film debut in 1960’s The Entertainer. He first achieved worldwide fame with his eponymous starring role in 1963’s Tom Jones, which earned him his first Academy Award nomination. He would go on to earn four more for his performances in Murder on the Orient Express (1974), The Dresser (1983), Under the Volcano (1984) and Erin Brockovich (2000). Finney, for his part, didn’t seem to pay the Oscars (or Hollywood’s trappings in general) much mind—despite his numerous nominations, he never once attended the ceremony, telling The Telegraph in 2011 (via THR), “It’s a long way to go just to sit in a non-drinking, non-smoking environment on the off-chance your name is called.”

Finney continued to blend film, TV and theatre throughout his five-decade-plus career, winning an Emmy, Golden Globe and BAFTA TV Award for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in 2002 BBC/HBO TV film The Gathering Storm. Just one year earlier, BAFTA bestowed upon Finney an Academy Fellowship award, the English equivalent of a lifetime achievement Oscar.

Finney “also tried his hand at directing and producing, and played a vital role in sustaining British theater,” per the AP. He famously declined to be knighted in 2000, dismissing knighthoods as “perpetuating snobbery.”

2012 Bond film Skyfall, in which Finney played Scottish groundskeeper Kincade, was his final screen appearance, capping a singular career.

Finney is survived by his wife Penelope, his son Simon and two grandchildren.

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