Celebrated actor, Albert Finney has died aged 82 following a short illness, his family have announced.
A publicist told the Guardian that Finney died of a chest infection at the Royal Marsden hospital surrounded by his family.
The actor, who was born in Salford in 1936, began his career on the stage at the Royal Shakespeare Company after being encouraged by his headmaster at Salford Grammar school to pursue the dramatic arts.
After a number of successful turns on the stage, Finney finally made his mark on the big screen with his seminal role as “angry young man” Arthur Seaton in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.
The role earned him great praise and he went on to star in a number of Hollywood films including Tom Jones (1963), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Erin Brockovich (2000), The Bourne Ultimatium (2007) and Skyfall (2012).
(Image: Albert Finney in Erin Brockovich)
One of his most memorable roles, however, was his portrayal of Winston Churchill in HBO’s Television film, The Gathering Storm (2002). His highly praised performance won him a Golden Globe and a Bafta for Best Actor.
Throughout his career, Finney was nominated four times for the best actor Oscar and once for best-supporting actor. Although he never won, that does not take away from the fact he is one of the most celebrated British actors of all time a feat, the man himself did not think possible.
The Salfordian was once quoted as saying: “I thought people from my background didn’t become actors. I thought actors were bred in special places – a stud farm in Mayfair.”
(Video: A Scene from 2002 film The Gathering Storm)
In 2001, Finney received a British Academy Fellowship award, one of Bafta’s highest honours. However, he was known to turn down official honours including a CBE in 1980 and a knighthood in 2000. He criticised the honours system for “perpetuating snobbery”.
Fellow actors and fans alike have taken to Twitter to pay their for the late actor.
Sad to share the news that acting great Albert Finney has died, aged 82.
“I’m only happy in character roles. I’m not the romantic type.” pic.twitter.com/QmLs97L1gI
— Marshall Julius (@MarshallJulius) February 8, 2019
— Eric Wolfson (@EricWolfson) February 8, 2019
So sad to hear of the passing of Albert Finney . I had the great pleasure of working with him on ‘Annie’ the movie. Who could forget him in Tom Jones .RIP we will miss you!!!??
— Bernadette Peters (@OfficialBPeters) February 8, 2019
The actor, who overcame kidney cancer in 2011, is survived by his wife Pene Delmage and his son Simon.
Vale Albert Finney.