Albert Finney, the Oscar-nominated British actor best known for his roles in “Annie,” “Erin Brockovich” and “Tom Jones,” has died after a short illness, according to representatives of his family.
“Albert Finney, aged 82, passed away peacefully after a short illness with those closest to him by his side. The family requests privacy at this sad time,” reads a statement.
The actor died from a chest infection at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London on Thursday afternoon, according to the UK’s Press Association (PA) news agency.
His wife Pene Delmage and son Simon were with Finney at the time of his death.
Born in Salford, England, to a working-class family, Finney joined the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art at the age of 17, according to PA.
He started out acting in the theater before making his film debut in “The Entertainer” in 1960, and starring in “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning” the same year.
The film, a snapshot of working-class life in Britain, known as one of the first “kitchen-sink” dramas, won Finney a BAFTA award for most promising newcomer in 1961.
Two years later he became a major star after playing the title role in “Tom Jones,” for which Finney received the first of five Oscar nominations of his career.
Despite repeated nominations, Finney was apparently no fan of the Academy Awards.
“It seems to me a long way to go just to sit in a non-drinking, non-smoking environment on the off chance your name is called,” he said, according to PA.
“It’s as if you are entered into a race you don’t particularly want to run in.”
On the news of his death, the world of theater and film came together to hail Finney’s talent.
Actor Rufus Sewell tweeted: “Very sad to hear about Albert Finney. I had the enormous privilege of working with him early on. Apart from being effortlessly great he was also a great all round example of how to behave.”
And the Old Vic Theatre in London also tweeted condolences.
“We are very sad to hear of the loss of Albert Finney. His performances in plays by Shakespeare, Chekhov and other iconic playwrights throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s stand apart as some of the greatest in our 200 year history.”