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Frank Finlay

Frank Finlay

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: August 6, 1926 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Lancashire, England, GB Profession: actor, butcher's assistant

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A prolific stage performer, Frank Finlay came to international prominence repeating his stage role as a particularly villainous Iago to Laurence Olivier's "Othello" in the 1965 film version. A character actor, Finlay has generally played provincials or police inspectors and frequently appeared in period films. He began his stage career in 1951, working in repertory theater, before winning a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). He appeared with the Guilford Repertory Company in 1957 and made his London stage debut as a gaoler in "The Queen and the Welshman". The following year, Finlay made his Broadway debut in "Epitaph for George Dillon". He continued to appear on the London stage into the 80s. In 1962, Finlay made his film debut playing the small role of a booking clerk in "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner", but returned immediately to the stage. His portrayal of Iago to Olivier's "Othello" at the National Theatre (1964) contributed to his being chosen to play the role in the 1965 feature version, which earned him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. Finlay was again cast with Olivier in "The Shoes of the Fisherman" (1967), albeit in a small role in the Siberian...

A prolific stage performer, Frank Finlay came to international prominence repeating his stage role as a particularly villainous Iago to Laurence Olivier's "Othello" in the 1965 film version. A character actor, Finlay has generally played provincials or police inspectors and frequently appeared in period films. He began his stage career in 1951, working in repertory theater, before winning a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). He appeared with the Guilford Repertory Company in 1957 and made his London stage debut as a gaoler in "The Queen and the Welshman". The following year, Finlay made his Broadway debut in "Epitaph for George Dillon". He continued to appear on the London stage into the 80s.

In 1962, Finlay made his film debut playing the small role of a booking clerk in "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner", but returned immediately to the stage. His portrayal of Iago to Olivier's "Othello" at the National Theatre (1964) contributed to his being chosen to play the role in the 1965 feature version, which earned him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. Finlay was again cast with Olivier in "The Shoes of the Fisherman" (1967), albeit in a small role in the Siberian segment. That same year, he was the victim of Alan Arkin's bumbling "Inspector Clouseau". Finlay was oddly cast as Amafi, a slave dealer, in "Shaft in Africa" (1973). He was better suited to the period garb of Porthos in Richard Lester's remake of "The Three Musketeers" (1973) and its two sequels (1975's "The Four Musketeers" and 1989's "The Return of the Musketeers"). Finlay has since appeared only sporadically in films, including "Stiff Upper Lip" (1996).

The small screen has offered Finlay more leading roles, particularly the title role in the syndicated 1981 limited series, "Casanova". In contrast, in 1987, he played Count Razetta, the rival to "Casanova" in a CBS TV-movie. He was Sancho Panza to Rex Harrison's knight in "The Adventures of Don Quixote" (CBS, 1973) and was an Arab in the remake of "The Thief of Baghdad" (NBC, 1978). In 1984, Finlay was Marley's Ghost terrorizing George C. Scott in the acclaimed CBS rendition of "A Christmas Carol" and went on to co-star in the WWII-era TV-movie "Arch of Triumph" (CBS, 1985). More recently, he was the father-in-law of "Stalin" (HBO, 1992) and a physician operating a clinic at which a murder had occurred in "A Mind to Murder", a 1996 episode of the PBS series "Mystery!"

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Statement, The (2003) Commissaire Vionnet
3.
 Pianist, The (2002) The Father
4.
 Martins, The (2001) Mr Heath
5.
 Dreaming of Joseph Lees (1999) Eva'S Father
6.
 For My Baby (1997) Wittfogel
7.
 Romance and Rejection (1997) Mike'S Father
8.
 Stiff Upper Lips (1997) Hudson Junior
9.
 Gospa (1995) The Monsignor
10.
 Sparrow (1993) Father Nunzio
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Left school at 14 and worked in various shops (including as a butcher's assistant) and factories while attending night school
1957:
Joined Guildford Repertory Theatre Company
1957:
London stage debut, "The Queen and the Welshman"
1962:
Made film debut in "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"
1965:
Appeared as Iago opposite Olivier in feature version of "Othello"; earned Oscar nomination
1970:
Formed company in partnership with director Alan Bridges
1973:
Played Sancho Panza in "The Adventures of Don Quixote" (CBS)
1981:
Cast in title role of "Casanova" (syndicated)
1987:
Played rival to "Casanova" in CBS version of story
1992:
Co-starred as the father-in-law in "Stalin" (HBO)
2000:
Cast in the title role in the excellent short feature, "The Ghosthunter"
2002:
Played the father in Roman Polanski's "The Pianist"
2005:
Reunited with director Roman Polanski to star in his adaptation of the classic novel "Oliver Twist"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art: London , England -

Notes

Finlay was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 1984.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Doreen Joan Shepherd. Younger.
wife:
Doreen Joan Shepherd. Former actor, journalist. Married 1954.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Josiah Finlay. Survived him.
mother:
Margaret Finlay. Had two children and two stepchildren.
daughter:
Cathy Finlay. Lawyer.
daughter:
Cathy Finlay. Actor.
son:
Stephen Finlay. Actor.
son:
Stephen Finlay. Married.
son:
Daniel Finlay. Actor.
son:
Daniel Finlay. Born c. 1995.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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