ALBERT FINNEY Biography - Other artists & entretainers


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Albert Finney, the dynamic British stage and film actor was born in 1936. Though most widely known for his inspired performances in such films as Night Must Fall, Two for the Road, and Murder on the Orient Express, Albert Finney first achieved acclaim for his work in the classical theatre. After studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, he joined the Birmingham Repertory Company and made his London debut in the company’s production of Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra in 1956. Two years later, he played opposite Charles Laughton in a West End production of The Party and then joined the Royal Shakespeare Company for the 100th anniversary season at Stratford-in-Avon, playing Cassio in Othello (directed by Tony Richardson with Paul Robeson playing the lead), Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (with Charles Laughton) and understudying Laurence Oliver in Coriolanus, receiving critical acclaim when he he briefly took over the lead.


1960 was a golden year for Finney: he played the small part of Olivier’s son, in Tony Richardson’s The Entertainer; he received freat reviews for his stage performance in The Lily-White Boys; more importantly was his acclaimed portrayal of Billy Liar; and, finally is enormous success as the working class hero in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. This led to his playing the title role in Richardson’s Tom Jones (1963), a film that cemented his international stardom and made him a millionaire. In the same year, he was the talk of Broadway with is interpretation of Luther in John Osborne’s play.


Over the next forty years, he has been able to pick and chose his TV, theatre & cinema roles on TV. Sometimes, he has failed but, very often, he has been a great success: in films like Two for the Road (1967), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), The Dresser (1983) & Erin Brockovich (2000); in stage productions of Hamlet, Tamburlaine the Great, Macbeth & Uncle Vanya; and in the two Dennis Potter TV mini-series Karaoke and Cold Lazarus (both 1996). He has never been interested in his public persona but has, for half a century, been a courageous and stimulating actor whose work had always demanded attention and, usually, considerable, justifiable praise.