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News broke this week that veteran actor Albert Finney, who graced our screens for over five decades on TV and in film, is dead at 82. The actor’s death was confirmed on Friday morning.
Details are scarce regarding what happened, but the actor’s family told the AP he had died surrounded by family and friends. Albert Finney’s death also reportedly came after a short illness. Back in 2007, Finney had previously been diagnosed with kidney cancer and revealed he had been undergoing treatment for that cancer for five years back in 2012.
Albert Finney had been out of the acting business for a while. His last onscreen role was in Skyfall, which hit theaters back in 2012, was a high note in the Bond franchise, and is honestly a pretty great note to go out on in terms of Hollywood roles.
Prior to the gig in Skyfall, modern audiences should know Albert Finney from roles in The Bourne Ultimatum and The Bourne Legacy and from Big Fish, in which he played the ever-charming and always yarning Ed Bloom Senior.
It’s the Big Fish role that left the largest mark on this writer, as Finney spouts out gems that have stuck with me through my own career:
There’s a time when a man needs to fight, and a time when he needs to accept that his destiny is lost, the ship has sailed and that only a fool would continue. The truth is, I’ve always been a fool.
But the actor’s career spanned decades in Hollywood and he took on many famous characters during that time, including Kilgore Trout and Tom Jones. He had a notable turn as Daddy Warbucks in the wonderful 1982 version of Annie, otherwise known as the version with all the heavy hitters, as it also stars Carol Burnett, Bernadette Peters and Tim Curry.
His version of Hercule Poirot, while not given the longevity of David Suchet’s or the impressive mustache of Kenneth Branagh’s, is still well-watched and beloved today. It also earned him an Oscar nomination, as did turns in movies like Traffic, Erin Brockovich, The Dresser and Under The Volcano.
Finney never won for any of these turns and notably did not attend the Academy Awards events. He previously told the Manchester Evening News he thought it was “silly to go over there and beg for an award.”
Albert Finney was never a showy name in Hollywood, but he was a mainstay, and he leaves behind decades of performances that left an indelible mark on the history of film. It’s been a while since we’ve seen him on the big screen, but his person and his performances will greatly be missed.
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