How Old Was Albert Finney When He Died, and Did He Win Any Academy Awards?

We know some actors, such as Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Johnny Flynn, work in live theater and cross over to TV and movies, but no one did it quite like Albert Finney. He spent years doing stage productions before he set foot on a movie set, and he was incredibly successful at both. With the news of Finney’s death, let’s look at his life, his career, and his history at the Academy Awards.

Who is Albert Finney?

Actor Albert Finney
Albert Finney at the Erin Brockovich premiere. | Lucy Nicholson/AFP/Getty Images

Long before the soccer teams in town started handing out contracts to the richest players on the planet, Manchester was Albert Finney’s home. Technically, he was born in Salford, which is part of the greater Manchester area.

Finney grew up in a working-class home, but he had acting in his blood. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, and then he became a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, according to Biography.

Albert Finney was born May 9, 1936, and he died February 8, 2019, in London at 82 years old. He paused his film career between 2007 and 2012 because of a prostate cancer diagnosis.

You might know some of his most famous roles

Finney performed in dozens of live theater productions starting in 1956, and he continued working on stages until 1996. However, his movie roles brought his talents to a wider audience, and you probably know some of them.

His first big-screen production was 1960’s The Entertainer, but playing the titular role in 1963’s Tom Jones was his breakout role.

Finney redefined the Ebenezer Scrooge character in 1970’s Scrooge. He played Daddy Warbucks in 1982’s Annie, which remains one of the best Broadway plays to hit the big screen.

He starred in Murder on the Orient Express in 1974, and he turned out acclaimed into his 60s and 70s. You might have seen him in Miller’s Crossing, one of the Coen Brothers’ best films, or Big Fish, which is one of Tim Burton’s top movies.

Finney’s final movie role was playing Kincade in the 2012 James Bond movie Skyfall.

Did he win any Oscars during his career?

Actor Albert Finney as Ebenezer Scrooge
Finney won at the Golden Globes for playing Ebenezer Scrooge.| McCarthy/Getty Images

Albert Finney scored five Academy Award nominations, but he never got his hands on an Oscar statue. He scored best actor nods for Tom Jones (1963), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), The Dresser (1983), and Under the Volcano (1984). The Academy nominated him for best supporting actor for Erin Brockovich (2000). However, he won some notable industry awards over the years.

  • Golden Globes: Best newcomer for Tom Jones; best actor for Scrooge; and best performance in a miniseries or TV movie for 2002’s The Gathering Storm.
  • Emmys: Outstanding lead actor for The Gathering Storm.
  • Screen Actors Guild: Finney was a double winner at the 2001 SAG Awards. He won for outstanding supporting actor for Erin Brockovich, and he joined his Traffic co-stars in winning for outstanding performance by a cast.

He did his version of backpacking Europe after his breakthrough movie role

Actor Albert Finney
Albert Finney took a break from acting right after his breakthrough role. | John Pratt/Getty Images

In addition to the memorable movie roles and many awards, the thing that defined Albert Finney’s acting career was to do it on his terms.

After earning critical raves for starring in Tom Jones, Finney turned his back on acting for his version of backpacking through Europe. He sailed the Pacific, visited the West Indies, and saw Italy and Greece — and he never thought about cutting his travels short so he could get back to work.

“When I took the year off after Tom Jones, I don’t know why. I suppose I wanted to travel a bit,” he told Rolling Stone in 1982. “It may have been that I didn’t know what I wanted; I was afraid of what I wanted to do next, ’cause I was hot. Jesus, it suddenly seemed important what I did next, so I said to hell with it. So I didn’t do sh*t. I didn’t have to do anything next.”

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