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Subject: ARCHIVE: May 9, 1968 ~It was 50 years ago today, we lost Scottish-born Hollywood character actor Finlay Currie, in a career spanning from pre-code days, into the 1960s, with his most memorable roles as convict 'Magwitch' in 1946's "Great Expectations" (1946), and as Cary Grant's best mate in key part in "People Will Talk" (1951). He was 90. ...

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Date Posted: Thursday, May 10, 12:38:37pm

Finlay Currie
[ Finlay Jefferson Currie ]
(20 January 1878 9 May 1968)

Currie was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he later attended George Watson's College. He began his work as organist and choir director. In 1898 he got his first job in a Benjamin Fuller's theater group. He was in the cast of this group for almost 10 years. His acting career began on the stage. He and his wife, Maude Courtney, did a song-and-dance act in the USA in the late 1890s. He made his first film (The Old Man) in 1931. He appeared as a priest in the 1943 Ealing Second World War film Undercover. His most famous film role was the convict, Abel Magwitch, in David Lean's Great Expectations (1946). ...

In the following years he appeared in Hollywood film epics,
including such roles as Saint Peter in Quo Vadis (1951). ...

...He was also remembered as 'Balthazar', one of the Three Magi, in the multi-Oscar-winning Ben-Hur (1959),
the Pope in Francis of Assisi (1961), and as an aged, wise senator in The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964), Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965).

Currie appeared in 1951's "People Will Talk" with Cary Grant, as Grant's best mate 'Mr.Shunderson' who was a pivotal character in the story. In the film, Grant plays 'Dr. Praetorius' a new physician hired to teach at a medical call, Along with Praetorius is his valet/friend 'Mr. Shunderson' who brings rumors of his suspicious and ambiguous past. Praetorius' colleague raises suspect so much, he has the mild-mannered Shunderson investigated for his history. Mr. Shunderson, who rarely leaves Praetorius's side, has a deep, intuitive understanding of human and animal nature, with Currie giving a poignant and memorable performance for the role. ...

He also portrayed Robert Taylor's embittered father, Sir Cedric, in MGM's Technicolor 1952 version of Ivanhoe. But Ivanhoe also gave Currie one of his most delightful roles, highlighting his comic capabilities, as well as a willingness to still do some action scenes, even in his 70s. In 1962, he starred in an episode of NBC's The DuPont Show of the Week, The Ordeal of Dr. Shannon, an adaptation of A.J. Cronin's novel, Shannon's Way.
He was the subject of This Is Your Life in February 1963, when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at the BBC Television Theatre in London.

In 1966, Currie played Mr. Lundie, the minister, in the television adaptation of the musical Brigadoon. His last performance was for the television series The Saint which starred Roger Moore. Currie played a dying mafioso boss in the two-part episode "Vendetta for the Saint", which was released posthumously in 1969. ...

Personal life and death ...
Later, he became a much respected antiques dealer, specialising in coins and precious metals. He was also a longtime collector of the works of Robert Burns. Currie was married to the American actress Maude Courtney. They had a son, George Francis Courtney Currie, born on 26 September 1906, while his parents were on tour in Melbourne, Australia. Currie died on 9 May 1968, in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, at age 90. His ashes were scattered in Breakspear Crematorium, Ruislip, Middlesex.

Links ...


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