2 March 1942|
Caterham, Surrey, England, UK
|Died||28 December 2012(aged 70)|
His father was a merchant banker and upon leaving school he turned down a place at the London School of Economics. After performing in amateur theatre groups and singing in a folk group, he did his National Service in The Parachute Regiment and stayed on as a member of the SAS Reserve Regiment, training at weekends and several nights a week. He resigned from the military as his acting commitments became more demanding and stated he was relieved to not have to go to Borneo during the Indonesian Confrontation.
In the early phase of his career, Finch appeared in The Vampire Lovers (1970), Lady Caroline Lamb (1972) and The Final Programme (1973). His highest profile roles were the lead in Roman Polanski's 1971 version of Shakespeare's Macbeth and in 1972, as a down-on-his-luck, ex-RAF pilot falsely imprisoned for murder in Alfred Hitchcock's penultimate film Frenzy. In 1971 he was to have played the role of the Aboriginal Detective Inspector Bonaparte (“Boney”) however he withdrew after being offered the lead in Hitchcock's Frenzy. In 1975 he went on to play the title role in a BBC/ABC joint production series about Australia's first outlawed bushranger, Ben Hall.
He was offered the role of "James Bond" in Live and Let Die (1973), but he declined the part and it went to Roger Moore. He also declined a role in Richard Lester' The Three Musketeers (1973). In 1977 Finch was the original choice for the role of "Doyle" taken by Martin Shaw in the British television series The Professionals (Shaw previously had played Banquo to Finch's Macbeth in Polanski's film). He pulled out at the last minute, claiming that he "couldn't possibly play a policeman".
During 1978-79, Finch played the role of Henry Bolingbroke in the BBC Television Shakespeare productions of Richard II, Henry IV, Part I and Henry IV, Part II, which also featured Derek Jacobi, John Gielgud, David Gwillim and Anthony Quayle in principal roles.
At the end of the decade, his roles in films included Death on the Nile (1978). He was cast as Kane in Ridley Scott's Alien (1979), but had to drop out on the second day of filming because of a severe diabetic episode; John Hurt was cast in his place.
In 1980 he appeared in Breaking Glass and in 1981, he played "Luke the Evangelist" in the television film Peter and Paul, which featured Robert Foxworth and Anthony Hopkins in the title roles. In 1984 he was Don Pedro in the BBC’s Much Ado About Nothing. Also on stage, he was the man inside the bandages in Ken Hill’s 1991 production of The Invisible Man at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East. Occasional film roles include an appearance in Darklands (1997) and a small role as the Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem in the Ridley Scott film Kingdom of Heaven (2005).
While filming Diagnosis: Murder in 1974, Finch was more than 40 lbs underweight, passed out a couple of times on set, and was then diagnosed with diabetes after being hospitalised for two weeks. In the early 1970s, until his diagnosis, he was also a racing car driver (single-seaters), but the condition prevented him from getting a racing driver licence.
Jon Finch was married once, to the actress Catriona MacColl; they were wed in 1982 and divorced in 1987. In 1993 Finch's daughter was born.
- The Vampire Lovers (1970)
- The Horror of Frankenstein (1970)
- Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971)
- Macbeth (1971)
- Lady Caroline Lamb (1972)
- Frenzy (1972)
- The Final Programme (1973) (U.S. title: The Last Days of Man on Earth)
- Diagnosis: Murder (1975)
- Ben Hall (1975)
- El Segundo poder (1976)
- Une femme fidèle (1976)
- Die Standarte (1977)
- Curro Jiménez, episode "el míster" (TV, 1977)
- Death on the Nile (1978)
- Richard II (TV, 1978)
- La Sabina (1979)
- Henry IV, Part I (TV, 1979)
- Henry IV, Part II (TV, 1979)
- Witching Time (1980), an episode of Hammer House of Horror
- Breaking Glass (1980)
- Gary Cooper, que estás en los cielos (1980)
- Peter and Paul (1981)
- Doktor Faustus (1982)
- Giro City (1982)
- Power Game (1983)
- Pop Pirates (1984)
- The Odd Job Man (1984)
- Much Ado About Nothing (TV, 1984)
- Riviera (1987)
- Die Stimme (1988)
- Plaza Real (1988)
- Unexplained Laughter (1988)
- The Rainbow (1988)
- Rehovot Ha'Etmol (1989)
- La Più bella del reame (1989)
- Merlin of the Crystal Cave (1991)
- The Lurking Fear (1994)
- Darklands (1996)
- Bloodlines: Legacy of a Lord (1997)
- Anazapta (2001)
- New Tricks (TV, 2003)
- Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
- John Finch biography at dlife. Retrieved 15 January 2013
- Russell Jackson The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Film
- Peter Holland "Macbeth and Its Afterlife: An Annual Survey" in Shakespeare Survey, Vol. 57
- Roger Ebert Roger Ebert's Four Star Reviews--1967-2007
- Martha W. Driver Shakespeare and the Middle Ages: essays on the performance and adaptation of the plays with medieval sources or settings
- Published on Friday 11 January 2013 12:00. "His other acting roles - Local News - Hastings and St. Leonards Observer". Hastingsobserver.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-01-11.
- Hildred, Stafford. Martin Shaw, The Biography.
- Harvey F. Chartrand. "No Frenzy For Stardom: An Interview With Jon Finch", Shock Cinema (USA), 2005, Iss. 27, pg. 8-12+46.