Rest in Paradise, Albert Finney

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia – Albert Finney pictured in August 1966.

By Josh Simpkins
Special to the Sun

Friends and neighbors, it is with a heavy heart that I deliver the unfortunate news that British actor Albert Finney, known for his starring roles in Annie (1982), Erin Brockovich (2000), and the James Bond thriller Skyfall (2012), passed away peacefully after a short illness in London, England on February 8, 2019. He was 82.

The son of a bookmaker, Albert Finney was born on May 9, 1936, in Salford, Greater Manchester, England, and grew up in northern England on the outskirts of Manchester. He took to the stage at an early age, doing several school plays and—despite his lack of connections and his working-class roots—earned himself a place at London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. He was especially successful in the plays of William Shakespeare.

Finney was a rare star who managed to avoid the Hollywood limelight for more than five decades after bursting to international fame in 1963 in the title role of Tom Jones. The film gained him the first of five Oscar nominations. Others followed for Murder on the Orient Express (1974), The Dresser (1983), Under the Volcano (1984), and Erin Brockovich (2000). In later years, he brought authority to action movies, including the James Bond thriller Skyfall (2012) and two of the Bourne films. Prior to the gig in Skyfall, modern audiences should remember Finney from his role in Tim Burton’s Dramatic Fantasy-Adventure Big Fish (2003), in which he played the ever-charming and always yarning Ed Bloom Senior.

Finney was never a showy name in Hollywood; however, his career spanned decades and he took on many famous characters during that time, including Ebenezer Scrooge and Kilgore Trout. He was a mainstay in the business and leaves behind decades of performances that left an indelible mark on the history of film, yet he will always be remembered as Daddy Warbucks in the wonderful 1982 version of Annie, otherwise known as the version with all the heavy hitters, such as Carol Burnett, Bernadette Peters and Tim Curry.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Finney on the big screen, but his person and his performances will greatly be missed. Rest in Paradise, Albert Finney.