News People ‘The world has lost a giant’: Actor Albert Finney dies aged 82

‘The world has lost a giant’: Actor Albert Finney dies aged 82

Albert Finney, in the 1994 film A Man of No Importance, was nominated five times for an Oscar but never won one. Photo: AAP
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Tributes have flowed for award-winning British actor Albert Finney who has died aged 82.

Finney’s family said on Saturday (Friday local time) that he “passed away peacefully after a short illness with those closest to him by his side”.

He died on Friday (Thursday local time) from a chest infection at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, a cancer treatment centre.

Albert Finney was one of the most respected and versatile actors of his generation and the star of films as diverse as Tom Jones, Erin Brockovich and Skyfall.

Actress Bette Midler described Finney as one of the “greatest actors of his generation” and British actor and comedian John Cleese said he was “the best”.

From his early days as a strikingly handsome and magnetic screen presence to his closing acts as a brilliant character actor, Finney was a British treasure known for charismatic work on both stage and screen.

He burst to international fame in 1963 in the title role of Tom Jones, playing a lusty, humorous rogue who captivated audiences with his charming, devil-may-care antics.

Finney was a rare star who managed to avoid the Hollywood limelight despite more than five decades of worldwide fame.

He was known for skipping awards ceremonies, even when he was nominated for an Oscar.

Tom Jones gained him the first of five Oscar nominations.

Other nominations followed for Murder on the Orient Express, The Dresser and Under the Volcano.

Each time he fell short.

On Saturday, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences honoured the “legacy” of Finney’s “brilliant” acting.

In later years he brought authority to big-budget and high-grossing action movies, including the James Bond thriller Skyfall and two of the Bourne films.

He also won hearts as Daddy Warbucks in Annie.

He played an array of roles, including Winston Churchill, Pope John Paul II, a southern American lawyer and an Irish gangster.

Albert Finney alongside Julia Roberts in the 2000 film Erin Brockovich. Photo: AAP

In one of his final roles, as the gruff Scotsman Kincade in Skyfall, he shared significant screen time with Daniel Craig as Bond and Judi Dench as M, turning the film’s final scenes into a master class of character acting.

“The world has lost a giant,” Craig said.

Finney is survived by his third wife, Pene Delmage, son Simon and two grandchildren.