James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson said they were “heartbroken” at the loss of the actor, whose final screen appearance came as gamekeeper Kincade in 2012’s “Skyfall.” “It was a privilege to work with him and an honor to have had him as part of our Bond family,” said the pair in a statement issued via the official James Bond Twitter account.
“Skyfall” director Sam Mendes told Variety: “It is desperately sad news that Albert Finney has gone. He really was one of the greats – a brilliant, beautiful, big-hearted, life loving delight of a man. He will be terribly missed.”
“Westworld” star, and fellow Bond franchise alumnus, Jeffrey Wright called Finney “supreme” and “one of the absolute [greatest of all time],” saying he habitually watched Finney’s Oscar-nominated performance in “The Dresser” before starting a new play. Wright featured in Daniel Craig’s first two James Bond films “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace.”
British director and cinephile Edgar Wright thanked “the original Angry Young Man” for his performances in a variety of classic roles, from British drama “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning” and Oscar-winner “Tom Jones” to the Coen brothers’ “Miller’s Crossing” and Sidney Lumet’s “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.”
Director Ava DuVernay said seeing Finney’s performances in “Shoot the Moon” and then “Annie” within a few weeks of each other when she was 10 years old had shown her “what acting means.”
London’s renowned Old Vic Theatre, where Finney frequently appeared in plays including William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” in 1975 — one of eight productions chosen to celebrate the theatre’s bicentennial in 2018 on a special collection of British stamps — said the actor’s performances stood apart “as some of the greatest in our 200 year history.” That production later transferred to the U.K.’s National Theatre as the first staged in its then new Lyttelton Theatre.
Rufus Sewell, who appeared alongside Finney in the 1994 film “A Man of No Importance,” said, “I had the enormous privilege of working with him early on. Apart from being effortlessly great he was also a great all-round example of how to behave.”
Brian Koppelman, showrunner of HBO’s “Billions,” said that despite having not had the chance to work with the actor, he had brought him “a lot of joy,” calling him “a great artist.”
Responding to Koppelman’s tweet, Emmy-winning “Barry” star Henry Winkler said Finney was “an actor’s actor…without compare” having first seen him at the St. James Theatre on Broadway in the early 1960s in the Tony Award-winning production of John Osborne’s “Luther” — a role Finney originated.
British actor, and former “Walking Dead” star, David Morrissey said Finney had been a hero, calling the late actor “a powerhouse.”
Others paying tribute included Bernadette Peters, who starred alongside Finney in the 1982 film version of musical “Annie”; “The Wire” creator David Simon; “Mission: Impossible” filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie; “The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert; U.S. actress Rosanna Arquette; and British actor, writer, and comedian David Walliams.