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Frank Finlay (6 August 1926 – 30 January 2016)

Frank Finlay

Depending on the level of your exposure to his work, Frank Finlay will be best known to you either for his Oscar-nominated role as Iago in Laurence Olivier’s Othello (1965), as the rambunctious Porthos in Richard Lester’s adaptation of Dumas’ The Three Musketeers (1973) (and its two sequels), or the cheating husband in TV’s Bouquet of Barbed Wire (1976) (and its sequel). But of course, this versatile British actor had a varied, interesting career that spanned over fifty years, and he worked with some of the finest actors and directors during that period, both on screen, on stage and on TV. He always held his own, though, and his famously brooding looks were often mesmerising to watch, and though he never made it to the “big leagues” he was still the type of actor you could expect an intelligent, considered performance from, even if the production around him wasn’t quite as intelligent or considered as he was. As a character actor he could be superb, and when given the chance – as in Bouquet of Barbed Wire – he could be incredibly focused in a lead role, so much so that it’s a shame he wasn’t offered more of them. Although he will always be known for the roles quoted above, there is one role that may come as a surprise to those who don’t remember it, but is well worth watching: the Witchsmeller Pursuivant in the first series of Blackadder (1983), a rare comic role which he played with appropriate and very funny relish.

A Study in Terror (2)

1 – A Study in Terror (1965)

2 – Othello (1965)

3 – Robbery (1967)

4 – The Molly Maguires (1970)

5 – The Three Musketeers (1973)

6 – Count Dracula (1977)

7 – Murder by Decree (1979)

8 – Sakharov (1984)

9 – Dreaming of Joseph Lees (1999)

10 – The Pianist (2002)

The Pianist