He was closely involved in the early days of two major theatrical enterprises of the last century, the English Stage Company at the Royal Court, and the National Theatre. As the National got going at Chichester, he scored again in Arden’s The Workhouse Donkey (1963), as a blustering Labour politician, Alderman Butterthwaite, another northern character part executed with a high degree of absurd and demonic rascality. Frank was educated at Bolton technical college and worked as a butcher’s apprentice and grocer’s assistant before making his debut in fortnightly rep at Troon, Ayrshire, in 1951, followed by seasons of 10 months each in Halifax and Sunderland. Although he was a devout Catholic, he rarely played good people. Among the prime culprits was “Casanova,” which required the prostitutes his character patronized to appear on camera barely clad — a sight not typically seen on British television in 1971. Playing Iago opposite Olivier's title character in John Dexter's 1965 production of Othello, and the 1965 film adaptation Othello of that production (also 1965), Finlay's performance as Iago left theatre critics unmoved, but he later received high praise for the film version and he … Early on, he had appeared in two Michael Winner movies, both comic romps, in 1967: The Jokers and I’ll Never Forget What’s’isname. British actor, British actor, actress, film actor, film, movies, Oscars nominated for his role as Iago in Othello in 1965. This was a worthier enterprise than either his routine Captain Bligh in David Essex’s over-inflated musical Mutiny! He later won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where, bowing to the demands of repertory theaters of the period, he took pains to cultivate plummy London diction. He then played two war criminals: in Michael Cristofer’s Black Angel at the King’s Head, London, in 1990, and in Harwood’s The Handyman at Chichester in 1996. Frank Finlay in The Return of the Musketeers. This photograph originates from a press photo archive. But the performance, in the end, was superb. Back on the stage, he was an alcoholic trade unionist in Trevor Griffiths’s The Party (1973), a scabrously critical look at the British left, in which Olivier made his NT farewell as a Glaswegian Trotskyite. He appeared on Broadway in two short-lived plays, “Epitaph for George Dillon,” by John Osborne and Anthony Creighton, in 1958, and “Filumena,” by Eduardo De Filippo, in 1980. He was 89. “It was still the time when the Reps were doing ‘Who’s for tennis?’ plays,” Mr. Finlay told The Sydney Morning Herald in 1988. Mr. Finlay went on to perform with the Royal National Theater, of which Mr. Olivier was an artistic director, and the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 1958, at the Belgrade, Coventry, he portrayed old, incontinent Harry Khan – he usually played above his own age – in Arnold Wesker’s Chicken Soup With Barley, the first of the trilogy (followed by Roots and I’m Talking About Jerusalem) that soon after made his name, and Wesker’s, at the Royal Court. His astonishing performance takes full advantage of Shakespeare's lines. One of Britain's finest products of the stage, film and TV, actor Frank Finlay, he with the dark and handsomely serious-to-mordant looks, was born on August 6, 1926, in Farnworth, England, the son of Josiah, a butcher, and Margaret Finlay. (The award that year went to Martin Balsam for “A Thousand Clowns.”). In the same year the two actors had appeared together (Olivier executing some scene-stealing business with a hat), and with Plowright, in a glorious version by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall of Eduardo De Filippo’s Saturday, Sunday, Monday, which transferred in 1974 to the Queen’s theatre, London. Fin­lay made his first stage ap­pear­ances at the local Farn­worth Lit­tle The­atre, in plays that in­cluded Peter Black­more's Mi­randa in 1951. Like many myopic actors, he often moved around the stage with his eyes wide open, “like a silly-looking fish,” said Stephens: “So he got contact lenses, and when he walked on the stage and saw the audience, he nearly died of fright. When he was cast as Lopakhin in an all-star production of The Cherry Orchard at the Haymarket theatre in London in 1983, the director Lindsay Anderson was flummoxed in rehearsals by his impassive visage, wondering in his diaries if he was “closed” or merely stupid. And his distinctive voice had an in-built echo, so that he sounded as though he was speaking inside a dark, dank cave. Fortunately, Frank Finlay as Iago is very nearly his equal, a figure of poisonous menace who knows how to cloak his true nature beneath a believable veneer of concern; without Finlay in the role, this Othello would feel lopsided and off-balance. Francis Finlay was born on Aug. 6, 1926, in Farnworth, in the north of England. He cropped up in Richard Eyre’s The Ploughman’s Lunch (1983), scripted by Ian McEwan, and The Return of the Musketeers (1989), the least good of the trilogy, blighted by the death of Roy Kinnear in a riding accident on location. But he improved immeasurably over the play’s run: with his director, Dexter, he had decided that Iago had been impotent for years; hence his loathing for the pantherine sexuality of the general who had done him out of a job, and his brutally callous alienation from Joyce Redman’s Emilia. In the same year he played a film director, Ben Prosser, in John Osborne’s self-immolating Watch It Come Down, and the ghost of a Czech communist cabinet member, Josef Frank, in Howard Brenton’s Weapons of Happiness, superbly directed by David Hare, the first commissioned play in the new National on the South Bank. In 2008 he appeared as Anorah, keeper of the unicorns, in the BBC drama series Merlin. • Frank Finlay, actor, born 6 August 1926; died 30 January 2016. Having featured as Jesus Christ in Dennis Potter’s Son of Man at the Leicester theatre and the Roundhouse in 1969, he briefly joined the Royal Shakespeare Company to play the Marxist theatre critic Bernard Link, visiting the post-1968 European hot spots on a lecture tour, in David Mercer’s After Haggerty (1971). Mr. Finlay was also known to an international audience as Porthos, the lusty extrovert among the Three Musketeers, in the 1974 film of that name. He is a picture of true evil. Directed by Richard Lester, it also starred Richard Chamberlain, Michael York and Raquel Welch. He be­came par­tic­u­larly as­so­ci­ated with the Na­tional … The cur­rent Lit­tle The­atre pres­i­dent, also in the cast of that Mi­randa pro­duc­tion, re­mem­bers him as a per­fec­tion­ist in his craft. Othello (The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice) is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1603.It is based on the story Un Capitano Moro ("A Moorish Captain") by Cinthio (a disciple of Boccaccio's), first published in 1565. “So we spent days trying to lose our North Country accents.”. Othello (1965) - My Heart Upon My Sleeve Allying himself with Iago (Frank Finlay) who has his own grudge against Othello, the two conspire to bring the general down. Frank Finlay as Iago and Laurence Olivier in the film based on the National Theatre’s production of Othello, 1965. His survivors include a daughter, Cathy; a son, Daniel; and several grandchildren. Undaunted, the producers took to the streets and hired the real thing. Finlay’s film career, allied to his stage credentials, kept him solidly in work thereafter. Frank Finlay, left, and Laurence Olivier in “Othello” (1965). The resulting film, directed by Stuart Burge, showed him at his best – phlegmatic, malignant and manipulative – and he, Olivier, Redman and Maggie Smith as Desdemona all received Oscar nominations. There fol­lowed sev­eral parts in pro­duc­tions at the Royal Court The­atre, such as the Arnold Wesker tril­ogy. Mr. Finlay portrayed the title character in “Casanova,” a 1971 BBC mini-series written by Dennis Potter. He was named a Commander of the British Empire in 1984. Frank Finlay's convincing and powerful Iago is bluff, provincial noisy and professionally jealous, sometimes goading himself into hysterical furry, less a Machiavelli than one of those amoeba-minded Southern Senators who still foam at the mouth at the thought of a black man and a white woman getting into bed together. In casting the prostitutes, a stumbling block arose. His family announced his death, The Associated Press reported. His first leading television role came in 1971 in Casanova. Finlay’s Frank struck up a telling rapport with Julie Covington’s communist agitator, and their scenes together were an electrifying fusion of experience and innocence. Iago is played to the hilt by Frank Finley; he slowly, brutality, relentlessly provokes poor Othello. But a sad tragic one. His other screen roles include the father of Adrien Brody’s character in “The Pianist” (2002), the Holocaust drama directed by Roman Polanski, and the father of Jane Tennison, the police detective played by Helen Mirren, in the last two installments of “Prime Suspect,” the popular British television drama. Francis Finlay, CBE (6 August 1926 – 30 January 2016), known as Frank Finlay, was an English stage, film and television actor, Oscar-nominated for a supporting role as Iago in Laurence Olivier's 1965 film adaptation of Othello. Harwood’s scripts for Roman Polanski’s The Pianist (2002) and Norman Jewison’s The Statement (2003), with Michael Caine, marked his last major movies, but he kept busy with much television work, including the role of Jane Tennison’s father in the last two series of Prime Suspect in 2006 and 2007. But Othello's old Ensign, Iago (Frank Finlay), doesn't like Othello, and is determined to bring about the downfall of Othello's new favorite, Cassio (Sir Derek Jacobi), and destroy Othello in the process, by casting aspersions on Othello's new bride. Moving past this enormous insensitivity, the performances, particularly Frank Finlay as Iago and Joyce Redman as Emilia, are remarkable for being so immediate, despite the very real challenges that Shakespearan language presents to modern audiences (both received deserved Oscar noms, along with Maggie Smith (good also) and Olivier (eh, hell no). Frank Finlay and Albert Finney in Gumshoe, 1971. Olivier, who had been talked into playing Othello by his literary manager, Kenneth Tynan, said that he did not want “a witty, Machiavellian Iago. This led to appearances on The Morecambe and Wise Show. Finlay’s acting was not spine-tingling, but he was highly effective and always, in his own surly way, imposing. Othello (1965) cast and crew credits, including actors, actresses, directors, writers and more. On television he played Jean Valjean in a BBC mini-series of Les Miserables, Adolf Hitler, Casanova and, most famously, an incestuously obsessive father in Andrea Newman’s television drama, Bouquet of Barbed Wire. In 1953 he won a scholarship to Rada in London. He also appeared at the Court in Serjeant Musgrave’s Dance (1959) and The Happy Haven (1960), both by John Arden, and opposite Rex Harrison in Chekhov’s Platonov and as Corporal Hill in Wesker’s Chips With Everything (1962). Stage and screen actor admired for his many classical theatrical roles who played the obsessed father in the 1970s TV drama Bouquet of Barbed Wire. Frank Finlay, an Academy Award-nominated English actor known for his screen appearances as Iago in “Othello” and Porthos in “The Three Musketeers,” died on Jan. 30 at his home in Weybridge, England. Potter’s play had initially been seen on television, where Finlay himself now became increasingly visible: first, in the title role of Potter’s Casanova (1971), a six-part BBC series, in which Finlay’s unusual lothario specialised in guilty postcoital tristesse over his dependency on women; then as a squinting, foxy Shylock in a big bushy beard opposite Maggie Smith’s Portia in a 1972 production of The Merchant of Venice, as the Führer in The Death of Adolf Hitler in the same year, and as Sancho Panza to Harrison’s fantastical Don Quixote in 1973. Making his Broadway debut in "The Epitaph of George Dillon" in 1959, he also sparked a noteworthy professional association with Laurence Olivier at the National Theatre, the highlight being his intense but subtle portrayal of "Iago" to Olivier's "Othello" in 1964. Born in Farnworth, near Bolton, in Lancashire, Frank was the son of Maggie (nee Griffin) and Josiah, a butcher, whose families had relocated from Ireland in the 19th century to work in the mills. I want a solid, honest-to-God NCO.” He got that to such an extent that Finlay, at that time an inexperienced Shakespearean, veered between dull and shaky in one of the longest roles in the canon (after Hamlet). He was nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar for playing Iago to Laurence Olivier’s Othello in the 1965 film version of Shakespeare’s play, directed by Stuart Burge and also starring Derek Jacobi as Cassio. Frank Finlay, 89, Is Dead; Was Iago to Olivier’s Othello. In Cyprus, Venetian Iago (Frank Finlay) awaits word of his boss the general (Laurence Olivier, title character), battling the Turks at sea, keeping an eye on the wife Desedemona (Maggie Smith) and amorous Cassio (Derek Jacobi), in the filmed version of the British National Theatre production of Shakespeare's Othello , 1965. 1964 FRANK FINLAY, NATIONAL THEATRE Olivier took care that his Othello should not be overshadowed by giving the part of Iago to Frank Finlay – who duly sank to the occasion as a … Overall, this is an impressive, though over-rated film. He played Porthos in the simultaneously filmed The Three Musketeers (1973) and The Four Musketeers (1974), both directed by Richard Lester. In some ways Finlay was difficult to fathom as an actor. A prolific stage performer, Frank Finlay came to international prominence repeating his stage role as a particularly villainous Iago to Laurence Olivier's "Othello" in the 1965 film version, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award. He had met Doreen Shepherd when they were both members of the Farnworth Little theatre, and they married in 1954, living mostly in Shepperton, Middlesex. Written by Kathy Li Plot Summary | Add Synopsis The story revolves around its two central characters: Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army, and his treacherous ensign, Iago. Together with Plowright and other Royal Court personnel – the actors Robert Stephens and Colin Blakely, the directors John Dexter and William Gaskill – he represented a key creative surge in Olivier’s project. He never wore them again.”. At the Court he forged an enduring friendship and stage collaboration with Joan Plowright in the Wesker Trilogy, and then joined Plowright’s husband, Laurence Olivier, in the new National Theatre at Chichester and the Old Vic. His career subsequently gathered pace in repertory seasons in Bolton, Guildford and on tour with an Edinburgh festival production of Rosemary Anne Sisson’s The Queen and the Welshman. He was appointed CBE in 1984 and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Bolton in 2010. As an actor, there was something sinister and sepulchral about Frank Finlay, who has died aged 89. With Doreen he had three children, Stephen, Cathy and Daniel. He reprised the role in two sequels, “The Four Musketeers” (1975) and “The Return of the Musketeers” (1989). After Iago, other notable roles that cemented his reputation at the Old Vic in 1965 were as Giles Corey in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, a gloriously officious and sour-faced Dogberry in Franco Zeffirelli’s Sicilian production of Much Ado About Nothing, and the Cook in Brecht’s Mother Courage (directed by Gaskill). The latter series, produced by London Weekend Television in 1976, starring Susan Penhaligon as his daughter, Sheila Allen as his wife and James Aubrey as his American teacher son-in-law, made Finlay a household name after years of toil. Convinced of his wife’s infidelity, Finlay’s Peppino sat sulking downstage, heart-broken. His luxuriant mane of black hair (turning grey and, later, white) complemented a skull-like appearance with still, sunken eyes and prominent cheekbones. He is survived by Cathy, Daniel, four granddaughters and two grandsons. Tynan said that this “beautifully observed” parade ground martinet, a prole by birth, went over to the enemy whose orders he carried out with a wry and humourless gusto. All rights reserved. at the Piccadilly in 1985 or his possibly murderous QC (the audience were sent out to consider their verdicts in the interval) in Beyond Reasonable Doubt, Jeffrey Archer’s glib potboiler at the Queen’s in 1987. Mini Bio (1) One of Britain's finest products of the stage, film and TV, actor Frank Finlay, he with the dark and handsomely serious-to-mordant looks, was born on August 6, 1926, in Farnworth, England, the son of Josiah, a butcher, and Margaret Finlay. Frank Finlay, an Academy Award-nominated English actor known for his screen appearances as Iago in “Othello” and Porthos in “The Three … Frank Finlay as Iago and Laurence Olivier as Othello on stage. Finlay was nominated for an Oscar when he reprised the role on the big screen Credit: Rex Features Frank Finlay in the BBC series Casanova, 1971. Stephen died in 2004, and Doreen in 2005. His last stage appearance was as the old retainer Firs in The Cherry Orchard at Chichester in 2008. Returning to De Filippo with Plowright, he had a great box office success in Filumena in the West End in 1978, touring with the production to Broadway, but he eclipsed even that highlight in his performance as a vampiric balletomane in James Saunders’s stage version of Ronald Harwood’s novel The Girl in Melanie Klein at the Watford Palace in 1980. He developed a lugubrious strain as both the Gravedigger and then as Willie Mossop in Harold Brighouse’s Hobson’s Choice, the bootmaker raised to new heights by Plowright’s doughty, rebellious Maggie. “The BBC couldn’t get actresses who were prepared to take their blouses off,” Mr. Finlay said in an interview quoted in his obituary on Monday in the British newspaper The Telegraph. In this version we can not only see his villainy at work but the thought processes behind it. On TV, Finlay made a … Frank Finlay is an absolutely brilliant Iago, willingly talking to us, the audience, in his soliluquies, as though we were one of the characters, and taking malicious delight in his evil machinations. He also played in rep, ini­tially in Scot­land, be­fore win­ning a schol­ar­ship to RADAin London. National Theatre service was completed with a twinkle-toed burglar, Freddy Malone, all teeth, spats and two-toned hair, in Michael Blakemore’s fizzing revival of Ben Travers’s Plunder in 1976. He was able to imply depths of feeling by doing very little. Because Mr. Finlay was so often cast as a rogue or villain, some of the productions with which he was associated were considered mildly scandalous in their day. The following year, also at the Old Vic, he played a stooge-like Joxer Daly to Blakely’s Captain Boyle in Sean O’Casey’s Juno and the Paycock, making himself look surprisingly thin in a huge greatcoat. Othello 1965 Iago (Frank Finlay), an officer in the Venetian army and ensign to the Moorish general Othello (Laurence Olivier), bitterly resents the appointment of a younger soldier Cassio (Derek Jacobi) as Othello's lieutenant. In character roles on stage, screen and television, Mr. Finlay was routinely praised by critics for his resonant voice, physical grace and brooding, soulful mien. Product ID: 1105849 / SCAN-TT-01105849. © 2021 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. Oliver's Othello accepts all that Iago infers, hints, states to such a degree without doubt that he at times, is a true fool. Frank Finlay as Iago and Laurence Olivier in the film based on the National Theatre’s production of Othello, 1965. But despite his being extraordinary and quite the most remarkable theatrical experience I've ever had, the person who I was drawn most to was Frank Finlay's Iago. Frank Finlay. He played the Gravedigger in the opening NT production of Hamlet (starring Peter O’Toole) at the Old Vic in 1963, followed by a string of leading roles, notably Iago to Olivier’s Othello. Frank Finlay's Iago is the centerpiece that all the other characters gravitate to. Frank Finlay with David Essex in the musical Mutiny!, 1985. He left school at 14 and became a butcher’s apprentice, but found he could not resist the lure of community theater. Othello is a 1965 film based on the National Theatre Company's staging of Shakespeare's Othello (1964-1966) staged by John Dexter.Directed by Stuart Burge, the film starred Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Joyce Redman, and Frank Finlay, who all received Oscar nominations, and provided film debuts for both Derek Jacobi and Michael Gambon Frank Finlay as Iago tribute (hearts filthy lesson) - YouTube NEW YORK — Frank Finlay, an Academy Award-nominated English actor known for his screen appearances as Iago in “Othello” and Porthos in “The Three Musketeers,” died Jan. 30 … Finlay, a star of the Three Musketeer films, earned an Oscar nomination for his role as Iago opposite Laurence Olivier in Othello in 1965. Mr. Finlay’s wife, the former Doreen Shepherd, whom he married in 1954, died in 2005; a son, Stephen, died in 2004. 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