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Peter Finch Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trivia (17) | Personal Quotes (7)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 28 September 1916South Kensington, London, England, UK
Date of Death 14 January 1977Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameFrederick George Peter Ingle-Finch
Nickname Finchie
Height 5' 9" (1.75 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Despite being one of the finest actors of his generation, Peter Finch will be remembered as much for his reputation as a hard-drinking, hell-raising womanizer as for his performances on the screen. He was born in London in 1916 and went to live in Sydney, Australia, at the age of ten. There, he worked in a series of dead-end jobs before taking up acting, his film debut being in the mediocre comedy The Farmer Goes to Town (1938). He made his stage debut as a comedian's stooge in 1939. Laurence Olivier spotted him and persuaded him to return to Britain to perform classic roles on the stage. Finch then had an affair with Olivier's wife, Vivien Leigh. Despite being married three times, Finch also had highly-publicized affairs with actresses Kay Kendall and Mai Zetterling. Finch soon switched to film after suffering appalling stage fright. As a screen actor, he won five BAFTA awards and his talent was beyond doubt. His two finest roles, the only two for which he received Oscar nominations, were as the homosexual Jewish doctor in Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971) and as the "mad prophet of the air-waves" in Network (1976). He died a couple of months before being awarded the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in Network (1976) and was the first actor to have won the award posthumously.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: David Claydon <dc6212@bristol.ac.uk>

Spouse (3)

Eletha Finch (9 November 1973 - 14 January 1977) (his death) (1 child)
Yolande Turner (4 July 1959 - 11 November 1965) (divorced) (2 children)
Tamara Tchinarova Finch (21 April 1943 - 17 June 1959) (divorced) (1 child)

Trivia (17)

Peter Finch's widow, Jamaican-born Eletha Finch, accepted his Oscar, posthumously, before the Academy.
Entombed at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, California -- Cathedral Mausoleum, Corridor A, Crypt 1224 (Across From Rudolph Valentino).
Suffered from fear of flying.
He was the natural son of Major Jock Campbell, a Highlander in the Black Watch and Alicia Ingle-Finch, during her marriage to the notable mountaineer George Ingle-Finch. George was the son of an eminent lawyer from New South Wales, Australia.
Is portrayed by Jerome Ehlers in Darlings of the Gods (1989).
Only one day before his death of a heart attack, he appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962) on U.S. network television NBC, entertaining the host and the audience with tales of his youth, his "psychic" grandmother and, eerily, a joke about dying from a heart attack. Carson closed his program the next evening with some words about Finch's passing.
He was not director John Schlesinger first choice for his masterpiece, Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971). Oscar-nominee Alan Bates had been signed by the director to play the part of "Dr. Daniel Hirsh", a youngish homosexual doctor, but eventually became unavailable due to another commitment that ran behind schedule. Ian Bannen replaced him but, according to the late screenwriter, Penelope Gilliatt, in her introduction to the published screenplay, Bannen never felt comfortable with the part. Gilliatt speculated that he was flustered by the fact that he would have to kiss male actor, Murray Head, who played his gay lover while also engaging in a sexual affair with a woman. Schlesinger fired Bannen, replacing him with Finch, with whom he'd worked with on Far from the Madding Crowd (1967). Finch received the first of his two Best Actor Academy Award nominations for the role. Many observers believe Gene Hackman won over Finch because of the gay kiss. Finch did win the BAFTA and National Society of Film Critics Awards prizes for Best Actor for the role.
Three decades before the controversy over Brokeback Mountain (2005) failing to win the Best Picture Academy Award over Crash (2004), there was a similar controversy involving Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971), one of the first openly and unapologetically gay-themed motion pictures, and the macho police-thriller The French Connection (1971). Many at the time thought The French Connection (1971) was not a worthy winner, and that its victory came at the expense of A Clockwork Orange (1971), a highly controversial movie that was recognized as a masterpiece while simultaneously condemned for its depiction of "ultra-violence." It was the Best Actor Award, however, that was evocative of the Brokeback Mountain (2005) controversy. As one of the three stars of Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971), Finch won the first of his two Best Actor Academy Award nominations for playing a gay doctor involved in a love triangle with a bisexual man and a straight woman. Finch inherited the role from Alan Bates, who wanted to do it, but couldn't due to his being held up filming The Go-Between (1971); and after replacement, actor Ian Bannen was fired at the beginning of shooting for balking over a simulated sex sequence. This film brought Finch the best reviews of his film career up to that point. It has been revealed that "officially," Bannen was sacked due to his stated concern that portraying a homosexual engaged in the first screen kiss between two men might damage or destroy his career. Finch unhesitatingly threw himself into the role, kissed co-star Murray Head, and received an Oscar nomination for his performance. Many observers believe that Finch lost the Oscar to eventual winner Gene Hackman because of the gay kiss. For playing the role brilliantly, Finch won the BAFTA and National Society of Film Critics Awards prizes for Best Actor, though Hackman won the prestigious New York Film Critics Circle Award and beat Finch out for the Golden Globe.
Was discovered by Laurence Olivier in 1948 when Olivier and his theatrical company, which included his wife Vivien Leigh, were conducting a tour of Australia, Olivier signed the young Aussie to a personal contract and Finch became part of Olivier's theatrical company, traveling back to London with his new employer. He then proceeded to cuckold his mentor and employer by bedding Olivier's wife. Olivier was personally humiliated but ever the trouper, he kept the talented Finch under contract; Finch, who had been born in London, flourished as an actor after the career break given him by Olivier. Finch and Leigh carried on a long affair, and since Leigh was bipolar, with her manic-depression frequently manifesting itself in nymphomania, some speculate that Olivier subconsciously may have been grateful for Finch for occupying Leigh's hours, keeping her out of trouble, and Olivier from embarrassment.
Born Frederick George Peter Ingle-Finch in London, he spent much of his childhood in France, India and, finally, in his parents' native Australia. He grew up in Sydney, where he began his career as an actor.
Suffered his fatal heart attack in the lobby of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on January 14, 1977.
His performance as "Howard Beale" in Network (1976) is ranked #52 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
Was the product of an affair between Alicia Ingle-Finch and Wentworth Edward Dallas "Jock" Campbell, a Scottish Military officer. His mother was, at the time, married to George Ingle-Finch, an Australian born mountaineer. Finch didn't meet his mother until he was 33, and his natural father until he was 45.
Father, with Yolande Turner, of son Charles Finch.
Holds the distinction of being the first person to win a posthumous Academy Award in an acting category, and is the only person to win a posthumous Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
Finch's first on-screen performance was in "The Magic Shoes", a 1935 Australian short film directed by Claude Fleming. The short was an adaptation of the Cinderella fairytale, and also starred Helen Hughes, daughter of then Australian Prime Minister Morris Hughes. As the creators of the short were unsuccessful in finding a distributor for "The Magic Shoes," it never received a commercial release; it eventually faded into obscurity, and is now officially classified as lost by the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (who cite the film as one of their most-wanted).

In 2006, a roll of nitrate film, containing 33 production stills from the lost short, was discovered, an extraordinary find, in that photos of Helen Hughes had, up until that point, been extremely rare. As it stands, the photos are likely the only physical record that the film ever existed.

Besides the aforementioned photographs, no other material from the film has surfaced, and no known copies of the film itself remain. Still, the National Film and Sound Archive remain optimistic that someone out there may be in possession of a copy, not yet having realized its immense rarity.
His uncredited appearance in First Men in the Moon (1964) came about when he was visiting the set and the actor for the scene didn't turn up.

Personal Quotes (7)

[When asked why he chose acting as a profession] "If I was going to be broke I decided I might as well be with actors as anyone else. They were cheerful idiots and seemed to take it better."
Good acting should teach people to understand rather than judge.
Hollywood must have been terrific once.
Success is a very tough mistress. For years, while you're struggling, she wants nothing to do with you. Then, one day you find yourself in the room with her and even though the key is on the inside, you can't leave. 'You've made your choice', she says, 'I don't care how exhausted you are - you're going to stay here for the rest of your life making love to me'.
I do not believe that with a fictional character you can force yourself too far away from yourself. There has to be some of you in it.
[on film producer Ross Hunter] He's a very pleasant man. He may sound like Reader's Digest, but he believes every word he says. He's never lost touch with Disneyland.
[on how he coped with the challenge of conducting the first erotic film kiss with another male actor in 'Sunday, Bloody Sunday'] I did it for England.

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