Albert Finney Dead at 82

Albert Finney

Albert Finney

A statement from a family spokesman said: 'He passed away peacefully after a short illness with those closest to him by his side.

He followed that up the same year by starring as a disillusioned factory worker in "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning", and broke through as an worldwide star in 1963's "Tom Jones", which brought him the first of his five Oscar nominations.

Finney is best known for his roles in Tom Jones, Skyfall and Erin Brockovich, as well as Murder On The Orient Express, in which he played Hercules Poirot.

Finney announced in 2011 that he was recovering from kidney cancer. 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.

Albert Finney during "Erin Brockovich" Premiere at Mann Village Theatre in Westwood, California, United States.

In "Skyfall", Finney played the Bond family's gamekeeper Kincade.

As described in The Guide to British Cinema, Finney exuded "a mixture of defiance and selfishness overlaid with a raw sexuality", and allied with his unarguable screen charisma, he became a major star nearly overnight.

Despite repeated nominations, Finney was apparently no fan of the Academy Awards.

"It seems silly to go over there and beg for an award", he told the paper.

Finney was born in Pendeleton, Salford, Lancashire England, the son of a bookmaker and his wife. He enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, where he found himself classmates with Peter O'Toole and Alan Bates.

Whatever people say I am, that's what I'm not because they don't know a bloody thing about me!

She said: "So sad to hear of the passing of Albert Finney".

Greengrass said: "Albert was one of our greatest actors, significant not just for his talent but for the way he made British theatre and cinema reflect life as it was truly lived".

The actor maintained a healthy skepticism about the British establishment and even turned down a knighthood when it was offered, declining to become Sir Albert.

"I don't think that we necessarily lie. Apart from being effortlessly great he was also a great all round example of how to behave".

This was to be a familiar pattern, with Finney alternating between film work and stage productions in London and NY.

He earned more Best Actor Oscar nominations for his roles in the searing marital drama "Shoot the Moon" in 1982, co-starring with Diane Keaton, and "The Dresser" in 1983. The role brought Finney his fourth Oscar nomination.

From 1970 to 1978 he was married to French actress Anouk Aimée.

He started out in William Shakespeare plays before portraying the titular hero in the Oscar-winning adventure-comedy "Tom Jones", which made him a major film star. Finney also used his popularity at the time to spark a directing career with a film called Charlie Bubbles in 1968.

Christopher McQuarrie, director of the last two Mission: Impossible films, said Finney "was an artist with a Thompson" - a reference to his submachine gun prowess in Miller's Crossing.

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