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'Annie' Star Albert Finney Dead At 82

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Today, after decades of watching Albert Finney impress us with his wide range of fabulous characters, we're forced to bid farewell to the icon.

The British actor, best known for his roles opposite Audrey Hepburn in Two for the Road, as Daddy Warbucks in Annie, as Hercule Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express, and as Winston Churchill in The Gathering Storm, died after a short illness, reports the BBC.

He was 82 years old.

Albert Finney
Albert Finney as Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks in 'Annie' (1982)Sony Pictures

The five-time Oscar nominee from Manchester had his start in theater as an actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company in the late 1950s, but it was his work in two 1960 films that launched his Hollywood career.

Finney first broke into the big screen with a small role in The Entertainer, but it was his portrayal of "angry young man" Arthur Seaton in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning that made him a household name.

Shortly after he was dubbed "a new sensation of the British stage and screen" by the New York Times, Finney was offered the starring role in the classic film Lawrence of Arabia, however he turned it down over contract disagreements. Instead, the role went to his former Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts classmate Peter O'Toole.

Albert Finney
Mondadori Publishers/Wikipedia

Still, Finney went on to have a successful, accolades-filled career that spanned decades. In the 2000s, he starred in several box-office hits, including Erin Brokovich, Ocean's Twelve, and The Bourne Ultimatum.

His final role was in the 2012 James Bond movie Skyfall.

Roles he didn't agree with weren't the only things Finney turned down. Even with all his success and wealth, Finney remained a humble man who declined a CBE, one the country's highest honors, in 1980 and a knighthood in 2000.

"I think the Sir thing slightly perpetuates one of our diseases in England, which is snobbery," he said at the time.

Finney's decision to retire from acting was influenced by his health, which had suddenly taken a downturn.

In 2011, he revealed that he was battling kidney cancer. It's unclear if his death is related to complications of the disease, but a publicist told The Guardian that the actor died of a chest infection while admitted at the Royal Marsden Hospital, which specializes in cancer treatment.

According to a statement from a family spokesperson, Finney "passed away peacefully" surrounded by "those closest to him."

He is survived by his wife, Pene Delmage, and son, Simon, from his first marriage to Jane Wenham.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Finney's family. He will surely be missed by many.

Blair isn't a bestselling author, but she has a knack for beautiful prose. When she isn't writing for Shared, she enjoys listening to podcasts.