Frank Finlay

Active - 1962 - 2018  |   Born - Aug 6, 1926   |   Died - Jan 30, 2016   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy

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Biography by Hal Erickson

RADA-trained British stage actor Frank Finlay was 31 when he made his London stage debut. The following year, he scored his first significant theatrical success, playing an elderly Jewish patriarch in Chicken Soup With Barley. In 1962, the RADA-trained Finlay made the first of his infrequent film appearances in The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. In 1964, Finlay toured with the National Theatre of Great Britain, playing Iago opposite Laurence Olivier's Othello. When Othello was committed to film in 1965, it was Finlay who received the lion's share of excellent notices; he was also nominated for an Academy Award. Most of Finlay's film characters have had sturdy literary pedigrees: he played Porthos in The Three Musketeers (1973) and its two sequels; Inspector Lestrade in a brace of Sherlock Holmes films, A Study in Terror (1965) and Murder by Decree (1979); Jacob Marley in the 1984 George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol; and Sancho Panza in a 1973 made-for-TV adaptation of Don Quixote. Among the historical figures portrayed by Frank Finlay are John Carter in Cromwell (1969), Sergei Alleluveya in Stalin (1992), the title roles in the British TV productions The Last Days of Hitler and Casanova, and the part of Salieri in the London staging of Amadeus. Finlay continued acting through the 2000s; he died in 2016, at age 89.

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