The angriest of the angry young men has calmed down for good. The son of a London bookmaker, Albert Finney studied at Rada and made his screen debut in 1960’s The Entertainer. The same year he starred in the landmark Saturday Night and Sunday Morning as the hard-drinking, harder-fucking Arthur.
His name made, Finney became a true leading man, with his role in Tom Jones opening him up to an American audience and leading to the first of his five Oscar nominations (he won zero). For such an identifiable figure, he had remarkable range and could hack it in musicals (Corpse Bride, Annie), as Hercule Poirot (the classic version of Murder On The Orient Express) or as Winston Churchill (in his last great role, The Gathering Storm). He turned down the role of Lawrence of Arabia because he thought it’d take too long to film. Which would undoubtedly have got in the way of his recreational activities, which somehow didn’t kill him before 2019. Still, the less said about Karaoke and Cold Lazarus, the better.