Peter Finch

(1916—1977) actor

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(1916–77), born England, the legal son of an Australian-born soldier, mountaineer and scientist George Ingle-Finch, was brought up by a variety of relatives and friends in Paris, India and Australia. After leaving school in Sydney he worked as a journalist, artist's model, waiter and straight-man in a vaudeville act before becoming an actor for stage and radio. His first successful part in film was as Bill Ryan in Dad and Dave Come to Town (1938). In the Second World War he served as a gunner, interrupting his service for the production of films including The Rats of Tobruk (1944). After the success of the British-Australian film Eureka Stockade (1949) he moved to England where he established an outstanding reputation as a film actor. Films in which he appeared include The Miniver Story (1950), The Wooden Horse (1950), The Heart of the Matter (1953), A Town Like Alice (1956), Robbery Under Arms (1957), The Shiralee (1957), Far from the Madding Crowd (1967), Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971), Network (1976) and Raid on Entebbe (1977). He was particularly noted for his portrayal of vulnerable public figures such as Lord Nelson in Bequest to the Nation (1973) and Oscar Wilde in The Trials of Oscar Wilde (1960). For his role in Network he won an Academy Award and was named best actor in America's Golden Globe Awards and (for the fifth time) by the British Film Academy. Finch appears as the character Archie Calverton in George Johnston's novel Clean Straw for Nothing (1969). Two biographies of Finch are Peter Finch (1979) by Trader Faulkner and Finch Bloody Finch (1980) by Elaine Dundy.

From The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.

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