Peter Finch

Active - 1938 - 1977  |   Born - Sep 28, 1916 in London, England, UK  |   Died - Jan 14, 1977 in Beverly Hills, CA  |   Genres - Drama, Adventure, Romance, War

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Ruddy-faced British star Peter Finch was raised by relatives in France, India, and Australia after his parents divorced when he was two. He had several odd jobs during the Depression before working as a comedian's stooge in vaudeville. He began working in the legitimate theater in 1935 then in 1936 debuted onscreen in the Australian film Dad and Dave Come to Town. While sporadically appearing in Australian films over the next decade-plus, Finch continued working on stage and formed his own company; eventually he also became Australia's top radio actor. His work impressed Laurence Olivier, who brought him to London in 1949 where he performed impressively on the stage and landed supporting roles in numerous films. In the mid-'50s he began getting better film roles, becoming one of Britain's leading male stars. Between 1956-71 he won the British Film Academy "Best Actor" award four times. For his portrayal of a gay doctor in Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971) he received a "Best Actor" Oscar nomination. His last film was Network (1976); during a promotional campaign for the film, he died of a massive coronary. That year he was posthumously awarded the Oscar for "Best Actor"--making him the first actor in Academy Award history to do so.

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  • As a child, lived in England, France, India and Australia.
  • As a teenager, first job was as a copy boy for the Sydney Sun newspaper.
  • At 19, toured Australia with the George Sorlie Travelling Troupe.
  • Made movie debut in the short film The Magic Shoes, in 1935.
  • Enlisted in the army in 1941, and entertained the troops with impromptu acts called "Finch's Follies".
  • In 1946, co-founded The Mercury Theatre Company with several other Australian stage actors.
  • At the urging of Lawrence Oliver, moved to England in 1948 to further his stage and film career.
  • Took on his first role in a Hollywood film in 1950's The Miniver Story.
  • Was the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy Award in an acting category for his role in the 1976 film Network.