Frank Finlay

Biography

Finlay began his stage career in rep before graduating from RADA. There followed several appearances at the Royal Court Theatre, notably in the Arnold Wesker trilogy. He is particularly associated with the National Theatre, especially during the Olivier years and its predecessor, the Chichester Festival Theatre, where he played a wide variety of roles ranging from the First Gravedigger in Hamlet to Saint Joan, Hobson's Choice, Much Ado About Nothing, The Dutch Courtesan, The Crucible, Mother Courage, Juno and the Paycock and culminating in his highly controversial Iago to Olivier's Othello. Finlay's original stage performance of Iago as an NCO left critics unmoved but then received high praise when the play was filmed and earned him an Academy Award nomination. He was also seen on Broadway in Epitaph for George Dillon (1958-9) and in the National Theatre production of Filumena, opposite Joan Plowright (1980). His first major success on television was in the title role of Casanova in Dennis Potter's BBC2 series of the same name. Following which in 1972, he won perhaps the greatest praise of his career for his chilling portrayal of the Nazi dictator in his last days in The Death Of Adolf Hitler. Many critics said he was "the most frightening" Hitler of all. He went on to star as the father in the controversial Bouquet of Barbed Wire and he was reunited with his Bouquet of Barbed Wire co-star, Susan Penhaligon, when he played Van Helsing in the BBC Count Dracula with Louis Jourdan (1977). He played Porthos for director Richard Lester in The Three Musketeers (1973) , The Four Musketeers (1975) and The Return of the Musketeers (1989). He has also appeared several other films, including The Wild Geese (1978). He appeared in two Sherlock Holmes films as Inspector Lestrade, solving the Jack the Ripper murders (A Study in Terror and Murder By Decree). In 1984, Finlay appeared on American television in [[A Christmas Carol (1984 film)}A Christmas Carol]]. He played Marley's Ghost opposite George C. Scott's Ebenezer Scrooge. While some have said Scott was the finest Scrooge, many others said that Finlay was equally fine as Marley's Ghost. Finlay also played a Sancho Panza who was not especially fat, opposite Rex Harrison's Don Quixote, in the 1973 British made-for-television film The Adventures of Don Quixote, for which he won a BAFTA award. He won another BAFTA award that year for his performance as Voltaire in a non-musical BBC TV production of Candide. He also guest-starred as "The Witchsmeller Pursuivant" in an episode of the popular 1983 British sitcom Blackadder. Perhaps Finlay's most-watched recent performance has been as Adrian Brody's father in the Roman Polanski film The Pianist (2002). His most recent appearances have been in the TV series Life Begins and as Jane Tennison's father in Prime Suspect 7 (2006).

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Birth Name

Francis Finlay

Birth Place

Farnworth, Lancashire, England, UK

Birth Date

8/6/1926

Death Date

1/30/2016
Known For
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Lifeforce

Fallada

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A Christmas Carol

Jacob Marley

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The Key

Nino Rolfe

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The Three Musketeers

Porthos / O'Reilly

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Cthulhu Mansion

Chandu

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The Deadly Bees

H.W. Manfred

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Count Dracula

Abraham van Helsing

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The Molly Maguires

Davies

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Gumshoe

William

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The Lost Prince

Asquith

Starring In
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Tea with the Dames

Iago (archive footage)

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The Waiting Room

Roger

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Prime Suspect 7 - The Final Act

Arnold Tennison

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The Lost Prince

Asquith

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Lighthouse Hill

Alfred

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Prime Suspect 6 - The Last Witness

Arnold Tennison

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The Statement

Commissaire Vionnet

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Beethoven - Eroica / John Eliot Gardiner, Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique

Josef Haydn

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The Pianist

Father

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The Martins

Mr. Heath

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Station Jim

Riorden Snr

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Longitude

Adm. Wagner

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In the Beginning

God (voice) (uncredited)

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The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns

General Bulstrode

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Since You've Been Gone

Porthos / O'Reilly

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For My Baby

Rudi Wittfogel

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Stiff Upper Lips

Hudson Junior

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Tiré à part

John Rathbone

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The Voyeur

Nino Rolfe (archive footage) (uncredited)

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La Novicia

Father Nunzio

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Stalin

Sergei

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Cthulhu Mansion

Chandu

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King of the Wind

Edward Coke

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The return of the three musketeers

Porthos

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Arch of Triumph

Boris

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Lifeforce

Fallada

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A Christmas Carol

Jacob Marley

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Enigma

Canarsky

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The Key

Nino Rolfe

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The Return of the Soldier

William Grey

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Murder By Decree

Inspector Lestrade

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Ring of Darkness

Paul

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The Wild Geese

Father Geoghagen

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Count Dracula

Abraham van Helsing

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The Four Musketeers

Porthos

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Shaft in Africa

Amafi

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The Three Musketeers

Porthos / O'Reilly

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Van der Valk und die Reichen

Van der Valk

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Sitting Target

Marty Gold

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The Exorcism of Hugh

George Dabernon

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Assault

Det. Chief Supt. Velyan

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Gumshoe

William

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Cromwell

John Carter

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The Molly Maguires

Davies

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The Shoes of the Fisherman

Igor Bounin

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Inspector Clouseau

Supt. Weaver

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Twisted Nerve

Henry Durnley

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Robbery

Robinson

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The Jokers

Harrassed man

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I’ll Never Forget What’s is Name

Chaplain

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The Deadly Bees

H.W. Manfred

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That Swinging City

Second Fish Porter

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Great Acting: Laurence Olivier

Iago in 1965 "Othello" (archive footage)

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Othello

Iago

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Sherlock Holmes: Notti di Terrore

Inspector Lestrade

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Agent 8 3/4

British Embassy Porter (uncredited)

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Doctor in Distress

Corsetiere

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The Informers

Leon Sale

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The Longest Day

Pvt. Coke (uncredited)

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The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

Booking Office Clerk (uncredited)

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Life for Ruth

Henry - Teddy's father

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