Albert Finney, five-time Oscar-nominee and star of Tom Jones, has passed away. He was 82. According to his family, Finney "passed away peacefully after a short illness with those closest to him by his side." Finney died at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London of a chest infection. He had been diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2011.
Born in 1936, Albert Finney grew up in a lower-middle-class family and was the son of a bookmaker. Finney was eventually accepted to train at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where he cut his teeth acting on the stage. Not long after, Finney transitioned into movies, with his first major role coming Tony Richardson's 1960 classic The Entertainer. Finney, that same year, also starred in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, directed by Karel Reisz, which proved to be his major breakout role. This not only secured his place as one of the key players in the British "angry young man" genre, but it also earned him a BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer To Leading Film Roles.
Only a few years later, Albert Finney would go on to cement his place as one of the most respected actors in the business with his role in 1963's Tom Jones, which earned him his first ever Oscar nomination. Finney would go on to earn four more, at various points in his career, for his roles in 1974's Murder on the Orient Express, 1983's The Dresser, 1984's Under the Volcano and 2000's Erin Brockovich. The Academy never actually awarded Finney with a win, but the actor, as expressed in an interview, didn't seem to care much for the Oscars.
"It seems to me a long way to go just to sit in a non-drinking, non-smoking environment on the off chance your name is called. It's as if you are entered into a race you don't particularly want to run in."
In fact, Albert Finney actually turned down two major official honors at various points in his life. The actor turned down a CBE, a designation awarded by the Queen, in 1980, and a knighthood in 2000. Finney continued to act throughout the 2000s, with his final roles coming in 2012. Some of his other key roles include Annie, the Coen Brothers' Miller's Crossing, Tim Burton's Big Fish, as well as Corpse Bride, The Bourne Ultimatum and The Bourne Legacy, and Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, legendary director Sidney Lumet's last movie. Finney's last significant role came in 2012's Skyfall, alongside Daniel Craig's James Bond. That movie's director Sam Mendes had this to say about his passing in a statement.
"It is desperately sad news that Albert Finney has gone. He really was one of the greats, a brilliant, beautiful, big-hearted, life loving delight of a man. He will be terribly missed."
Figures from all across Hollywood, including Edgar Wright, John Cleese, Christopher McQuarrie, Ava Duvernay, Stephen Colbert and many more took to social media to share their love for Albert Finney following the news of his passing. He is survived by his wife Penelope Delmage and his son, Simon Finney. We've included various social media tributes to the late actor below. This news was previously reported by The Guardian.
Albert Finney is gone...— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) February 8, 2019
But more than our greatest actor...
What the Germans call "Ein Mensch"
We are very sad to hear Albert Finney has passed away at the age of 82. The five-time Oscar nominee played gameskeeper Kincade in SKYFALL (2012). pic.twitter.com/8uzZbfwSi2— James Bond (@007) February 8, 2019
Remember the great Albert Finney tonight by watching Miller’s Crossing and Under the Volcano - two vastly different performances that showcase his unique ability to combine power with powerlessness.— Christopher McQuarrie (@chrismcquarrie) February 8, 2019
(And he was an artist with a Thompson.)
"Whatever people say I am, that's what I'm not." RIP Albert Finney, the original Angry Young Man, thanks for 'Saturday Night, Sunday Morning', 'Miller’s Crossing', 'Two For The Road', 'Gumshoe', 'The Dresser', 'Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead', 'Tom Jones' & so many others... pic.twitter.com/TKGJYKcK8Z— edgarwright (@edgarwright) February 8, 2019
Albert Finney was a damn fine actor. No nonsense. Straight to the point. He made it seem effortless, even when you knew it wasn't. From all accounts, he lived the same way and was a great friend. A Tough loss. My thoughts are with his family.— Colin Hanks (@ColinHanks) February 8, 2019
Very sad to hear about Albert Finney. I had the enormous privilege of working with him early on. Apart from being effortlessly great he was also a great all round example of how to behave. https://t.co/mZXeqmWrqJ— Rufus Sewell (@FredrikSewell) February 8, 2019
One of the true great. Both on stage and screen. A powerhouse of an actor. A real hero of mine. RIP Albert Finney https://t.co/FuSu6948tS— David Morrissey (@davemorrissey64) February 8, 2019
The moment I fell in love with Albert Finney pic.twitter.com/y4zKtmkTHl— maggie mull (@infinitesimull) February 8, 2019
The old man's still an artist with a Thompson. RIP Albert Finney pic.twitter.com/F83GUJVq9k— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) February 8, 2019
I remember seeing SHOOT THE MOON with my Aunt Denise when I was about 10 years old. And then seeing ANNIE a few weeks later with my Mom. Then putting together that the father in both was the same man and thinking - wow, that’s what acting means. Thank you, Albert Finney. 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/QyXOY0rKSO— Ava DuVernay (@ava) February 8, 2019
Saddened to hear of the passing of the great #AlbertFinney - a truly wonderful performer whom I greatly admired from an early age. Our condolences to his family and friends. RIP pic.twitter.com/jKvcGsiFUE— Cary Elwes (@Cary_Elwes) February 8, 2019
"Tom Jones" to "Annie" to "Erin Brockovich" - today we honor the legacy of brilliant actor and five-time Oscar nominee Albert Finney. pic.twitter.com/FlpAcgXaol— The Academy (@TheAcademy) February 8, 2019