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Peter Finch

Peter Finch

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Also Known As: William Mitchell Died: January 14, 1977
Born: September 28, 1916 Cause of Death: massive heart attack
Birth Place: London, England, GB Profession: actor, producer, radio performer, director, vaudevillian

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A former vaudeville performer and popular radio actor in Australia, Peter Finch transitioned to film in his native England, where he rose from supporting actor to leading man in a number of emotionally charged dramas. While he delivered more than a few notable performances in his four-decade career, Finch was forever identified as the raving mad prophet Howard Beale in "Network" (1976), whose line "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" remained one of the most identifiable in all of cinema history. After supporting roles in several British-made films, he made the Hollywood transition with "The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men" (1952) and starred opposite Elizabeth Taylor in "Elephant" (1954). Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Finch went back and forth between films made in Hollywood and England, earning award nominations along the way for his performances in "The Nun's Story" (1959), "The Trials of Oscar Wilde" (1960) and "No Love for Johnnie" (1961). Some time passed before Finch delivered another noteworthy performance, this time earning acclaim for his sympathetic and non-clichéd turn as a gay man in "Sunday Bloody Sunday" (1971). A few years later, he captured attention as...

A former vaudeville performer and popular radio actor in Australia, Peter Finch transitioned to film in his native England, where he rose from supporting actor to leading man in a number of emotionally charged dramas. While he delivered more than a few notable performances in his four-decade career, Finch was forever identified as the raving mad prophet Howard Beale in "Network" (1976), whose line "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" remained one of the most identifiable in all of cinema history. After supporting roles in several British-made films, he made the Hollywood transition with "The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men" (1952) and starred opposite Elizabeth Taylor in "Elephant" (1954). Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Finch went back and forth between films made in Hollywood and England, earning award nominations along the way for his performances in "The Nun's Story" (1959), "The Trials of Oscar Wilde" (1960) and "No Love for Johnnie" (1961). Some time passed before Finch delivered another noteworthy performance, this time earning acclaim for his sympathetic and non-clichéd turn as a gay man in "Sunday Bloody Sunday" (1971). A few years later, he captured attention as the raving maniac Beale in "Network," only to die from a heart attack two months before winning his one and only Academy Award, making him the first actor to win a posthumous Oscar.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Something to Hide (1988) Harry Field
2.
 Raid On Entebbe (1977) Yitzhak Rabin
3.
 Network (1976) Howard Beale
4.
 Abdication, The (1974) Cardinal Azzolino
5.
 Nelson Affair, The (1973) Lord Nelson
6.
 Lost Horizon (1972) Richard Conway
7.
 England Made Me (1972) Erich Krogh
8.
 Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971) Daniel Hirsh
9.
 Red Tent, The (1970) General Nobile
10.
 The Legend of Lylah Clare (1968) Lewis Zarkan
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1926:
After parents divorce lived with grandmother in Paris and India until age 10 then moved to Australia
:
Worked as a waiter and apprentice on a sheep farm
:
Joined a variety act as a stooge to the comedian; toured Australia and performed in tent shows
1935:
Stage acting debut touring New South Wales in "While Parents Sleep"
1935:
First Australian film as actor, "Magic Shoes" (unreleased)
1938:
First released Australian film as actor, "Dad and Dave Come to Town"
:
Served with Australian First Army in anti-aircraft battalion in Middle East during WWII
:
Formed own traveling theater company, the Mercury (after Orson Welles's company) which performed the classics in little theaters and factories at lunch time; Laurence Olivier visited company while touring Australia with the Old Vic in 1947
1948:
First film credit as assistant director and casting director, "Eureka Stockade"
1949:
British film acting debut, "Train of Events" ("The Actor" episode)
1949:
Joined Old Vic in London; under contract to Laurence Olivier (date approximate)
1949:
London stage debut opposite Edith Evans in "Daphne Laureola"
1960:
Debut as film director, writer and producer of short, "Antonito"
1977:
Collapsed in the Beverly Hills Hotel lobby while waiting to appear on "Good Morning America" to promote "Network"
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Notes

"In the right material he always looked good--he has a good actor's voice and stance, a touch of arrogance, a touch of humour, some warmth, leading man's looks and the same sort of gritty dependability that characterized the great male stars of Hollywood's golden age." --David Shipman ("The Great Movie Stars--The International Years" 1972)

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Tamara Tchinarava. Ballerina. Married in 1943; divorced in 1958.
companion:
Vivien Leigh. Actor. Had affair when Finch toured Australia with Leigh and Laurence Olivier in 1948.
wife:
Yolande Turner. Actor. Divorced c. 1968.
companion:
Shirley Bassey. Singer. Had relationship in the late 1960s.
wife:
Eletha Barrett. Jamaican.
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Family close complete family listing

mother:
Alicia Gladys Fisher. English.
daughter:
Anita Finch. Mother, Tamara Tchinarava.
daughter:
Samantha Finch. Mother, Yolande Turner.
son:
Charles Finch. Agent, former director and screenwriter, actor. Born c. 1962; mother, Yolande Turner; directed "Where Sleeping Dogs Lie" (1992); in 2000, formed Artists Independent Network, handling clients like Gillian Anderson, Willem Dafoe and Jamie Bell.
daughter:
Diana Finch. Mother, Yolande Turner.
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