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Albert Finney dies at 82: five of his best film roles

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Albert Finney, one of the leading British actors of his generation, has died at the age of 82.Salford-born Finney passed away in the presence of loved ones after a short illness, according to a statement issued by his family. Born in 1936 into a lower middle-class family, Finney won a place at London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and trained for a career on the stage. At the age of 24, he got his breakthrough on-screen role in the kitchen-sink drama Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.Ever-versatile, he would go on to play everyone from Ebenezer Scrooge and Hercule Poirot to Winston Churchill across a five-decade career, racking up five Oscar nominations in the process. He last appeared on screen in 2012’s Skyfall, as the Bond family’s gamekeeper Kincade.Here are five of his most memorable performances:Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960)The young Finney “exhibits a talent and screen-presence here that helped make him a star”, said the BBC reviewer Jamie Russell, as he played the disaffected young factory worker Arthur in the gritty drama set in Nottingham.The role cemented his status as “part of a new wave of British talent that offered an enticing brand of hell-raising sex appeal”, along with contemporaries like Peter O’Toole, Richard Burton and Richard Harris, says Variety.Tom Jones (1963)Finney’s title role as a dashing 18th-century libertine in this rumbustious big-budget adaptation of Henry Fielding’s novel introduced him to American audiences. The titular rake is “played with a wonderfully open, guileless and raffish attitude by the brilliant new star”, said New York Times critic Bosley Crowther at the time.The Dresser (1983)Finney returned to his theatrical roots in this character-driven drama about the relationship between an ageing thesp and his devoted dresser.Despite only being in his forties at the time, Finney won accolades - and another Oscar nomination - for his portrayal of Sir, a vainglorious yet insecure ham eking out his final years in provincial theatres.Erin Brockovich (2000)For his scene-stealing turn as a cantankerous lawyer who joins forces with Julia Roberts’ brassy single mother to fight the system, Finney received an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor in this stirring real-life legal drama.Big Fish (2003)Directed by Tim Burton, Big Fish sees Finney as a dying man sharing a lifetime of tall tales with his disbelieving adult son. Part fantasy, part domestic drama, the movie received mixed reviews on its initial release, but has since become a classic cult tearjerker.

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