Frank Finlay

Actor, Butcher's assistant
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. A character actor, Finlay ... Read more »
Born: 08/06/1926 in Lancashire, England, GB


Actor (63)

Prime Suspect 7: The Final Act 2006 - 2007 (TV Show)


The Waiting Room 2007 (Movie)

Roger (Actor)

Silent Cry 2005 (Movie)


The Statement 2003 (Movie)

Commissaire Vionnet (Actor)

The Pianist 2002 (Movie)

The Father (Actor)

The Sins 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)


The Martins 2001 (Movie)

Mr Heath (Actor)

The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)


Dreaming of Joseph Lees 1999 (Movie)

Eva's Father (Actor)

Stiff Upper Lips 1999 (Movie)

Hudson Junior (Actor)

A Mind to Murder 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)


For My Baby 1996 (Movie)

Wittfogel (Actor)

Romance and Rejection 1996 (Movie)

Mike's Father (Actor)

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)


Gospa 1995 (Movie)

The Monsignor (Actor)

Sparrow 1992 (Movie)

Father Nunzio (Actor)

Cthulhu Mansion 1991 (Movie)

Chandu (Actor)

King of the Wind 1990 (Movie)

Edward Coke (Actor)

The Return of the Musketeers 1989 (Movie)

Porthos (Actor)

Casanova 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)


1919 1986 (Movie)

of Sigmund Freud (Voice)

Arch of Triumph 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)


Lifeforce 1985 (Movie)

Fallade (Actor)

Enigma 1983 (Movie)

Canarsky (Actor)

La Chiave 1982 (Movie)

Nino Rolfe (Actor)

The Ploughman's Lunch 1982 (Movie)

Matthew Fox (Actor)

Casanova 1980 - 1981 (TV Show)


The Return of the Soldier 1981 (Movie)

William Grey (Actor)

Murder By Decree 1979 (Movie)

Inspector Lestrade (Actor)

Count Dracula 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)


The Thief of Bagdad 1977 (Movie)

Abu Bakar (Actor)

The Wild Geese 1977 (Movie)

Father Geoghagen (Actor)

The Four Musketeers 1974 (Movie)

Porthos (Actor)

Shaft in Africa 1973 (Movie)

Slave Dealer (Actor)

Gumshoe 1972 (Movie)

William (Actor)

Neither the Sea Nor the Sand 1972 (Movie)

George Dabernon (Actor)

The Three Musketeers 1972 (Movie)

Porthos (Actor)

Sitting Target 1971 (Movie)

Marty Gold (Actor)

Assault 1970 (Movie)

Detective Chief Velyan (Actor)

Cromwell 1970 (Movie)

John Carter (Actor)

The Molly Maguires 1970 (Movie)

Captain Davies (Actor)

The Body 1969 (Movie)

Narration (Narrator)

Twisted Nerve 1969 (Movie)

Henry Durnley (Actor)

I'll Never Forget What's 'Is Name 1968 (Movie)

Chaplain (Actor)

Inspector Clouseau 1968 (Movie)

Superintendent Weaver (Actor)

The Shoes of the Fisherman 1968 (Movie)

Igor (Actor)

Robbery 1967 (Movie)

Robinson (Actor)

The Jokers 1966 (Movie)

Harassed Man (Actor)

Agent 8 3/4 1965 (Movie)

Embassy Janitor (Actor)

Othello 1965 (Movie)

Iago (Actor)

A Study in Terror 1964 (Movie)

Inspector Lestrade (Actor)

Doctor in Distress 1962 (Movie)


Life For Ruth 1962 (Movie)


The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner 1961 (Movie)

Booking Office Clerk (Actor)

A Christmas Carol (TV Show)


Eroica (TV Show)


Longitude (TV Show)


Merchant of Venice (TV Show)


Mona (Movie)


Sakharov (TV Show)


Stalin (TV Show)


The Lost Prince (TV Show)



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. A character actor, Finlay has generally played provincials or police inspectors and frequently appeared in period films. He began his stage career in 1951, working in repertory theater, before winning a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). He appeared with the Guilford Repertory Company in 1957 and made his London stage debut as a gaoler in "The Queen and the Welshman". The following year, Finlay made his Broadway debut in "Epitaph for George Dillon". He continued to appear on the London stage into the 80s.

In 1962, Finlay made his film debut playing the small role of a booking clerk in "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner", but returned immediately to the stage. His portrayal of Iago to Olivier's "Othello" at the National Theatre (1964) contributed to his being chosen to play the role in the 1965 feature version, which earned him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. Finlay was again cast with Olivier in "The Shoes of the Fisherman" (1967), albeit in a small role in the Siberian segment. That same year, he was the victim of Alan Arkin's bumbling "Inspector Clouseau". Finlay was oddly cast as Amafi, a slave dealer, in "Shaft in Africa" (1973). He was better suited to the period garb of Porthos in Richard Lester's remake of "The Three Musketeers" (1973) and its two sequels (1975's "The Four Musketeers" and 1989's "The Return of the Musketeers"). Finlay has since appeared only sporadically in films, including "Stiff Upper Lip" (1996).

The small screen has offered Finlay more leading roles, particularly the title role in the syndicated 1981 limited series, "Casanova". In contrast, in 1987, he played Count Razetta, the rival to "Casanova" in a CBS TV-movie. He was Sancho Panza to Rex Harrison's knight in "The Adventures of Don Quixote" (CBS, 1973) and was an Arab in the remake of "The Thief of Baghdad" (NBC, 1978). In 1984, Finlay was Marley's Ghost terrorizing George C. Scott in the acclaimed CBS rendition of "A Christmas Carol" and went on to co-star in the WWII-era TV-movie "Arch of Triumph" (CBS, 1985). More recently, he was the father-in-law of "Stalin" (HBO, 1992) and a physician operating a clinic at which a murder had occurred in "A Mind to Murder", a 1996 episode of the PBS series "Mystery!"


Josiah Finlay


Margaret Finlay


Cathy Finlay


Daniel Finlay


Stephen Finlay


Doreen Shepherd

married 1954


Royal Academy of Dramatic Art

London , England
attended in the 1950s; won Sir James Knott scholarship



Reunited with director Roman Polanski to star in his adaptation of the classic novel "Oliver Twist"


Played the father in Roman Polanski’s "The Pianist"


Cast in the title role in the excellent short feature, "The Ghosthunter"


Co-starred as the father-in-law in "Stalin" (HBO)


Played rival to "Casanova" in CBS version of story


Cast in title role of "Casanova" (syndicated)


Played Sancho Panza in "The Adventures of Don Quixote" (CBS)


Formed company in partnership with director Alan Bridges


Appeared as Iago opposite Olivier in feature version of "Othello"; earned Oscar nomination


Made film debut in "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"


Joined Guildford Repertory Theatre Company


London stage debut, "The Queen and the Welshman"

Left school at 14 and worked in various shops (including as a butcher's assistant) and factories while attending night school

Bonus Trivia


Finlay was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 1984.