Mali Finn

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Mali Finn (March 8, 1938 – November 28, 2007), born Mary Alice Mann, was an American casting director and former English and drama teacher. She cast numerous actors in successful films, including Edward Furlong, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Russell Crowe.


Born as Mary Alice Mann on March 8, 1938, in Danville, Illinois, she later moved to Minneapolis, where she received a bachelor's degree in theater from the University of Minnesota. She was married to Don Finn, also a casting director, and had one child with him.


In the early 1980s Finn was a beloved drama teacher at Holland High School in Holland, Michigan, where she challenged her students with difficult productions such as You Can't Take It with You. She also lectured in English Literature at Hope College in the early 70s. In 1981 the couple moved to Newport Beach, California, where Finn's career as a casting director began. She already had a handful of casting credits on her résumé, including The Untouchables (1987), when she established her own firm, Mali Finn Casting, in 1989. She boosted Leonardo DiCaprio's career by casting him in the James Cameron film Titanic (1997); she also cast Russell Crowe in L.A. Confidential (1997). Finn discovered actor Brad Renfro when he was ten years old and cast him in Joel Schumacher's The Client (1994).

Finn cast almost 90 movies and television series during her career. Director Curtis Hanson worked with her on four of his films: L.A. Confidential, Wonder Boys (2000), 8 Mile (2002), and Lucky You (2007).

She was featured prominently in the "Fame" episode of The Human Face, presented by John Cleese.

Finn won numerous awards for her work, including the Artios Award for Best Casting for both L.A. Confidential and the HBO movie 61* (2001); in addition, she was nominated for three Artios Awards for Titanic. She also won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Casting for a Miniseries, Movie, or Special for 61* and was nominated for another Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Casting for Indictment: The McMartin Trial (1995).


Finn retired in 2006 due to melanoma, which was the cause of her death at age 69 on November 28, 2007, at her home in Sonoma County, California.[1][2]

Selected casting director credits[edit]


  1. ^ McLellan, Dennis (December 9, 2006). "Mali Finn, at 69; casting director". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2010-08-26.
  2. ^ "Casting Director Mali Finn dies". Variety. December 3, 2007. Retrieved 2010-08-26. Mali Finn, casting director for films including "Titanic," "L.A. Confidential" and "The Matrix," died of melanoma Wednesday in Sonoma, Calif. She was 69.

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