William Finlay Jefferson Currie (20 January 1878 – 9 May 1968) was a Scottish actor of stage, screen, and television. He received great acclaim for his roles as Abel Magwitch in the British film Great Expectations (1946) and as Balthazar in the American film Ben-Hur (1959).
Currie in 1938
William Finlay Jefferson Currie
20 January 1878
|Died||9 May 1968 90) (aged|
(m. 1905; died 1959)
In his career spanning seventy years, Currie appeared in seven films that were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. Of those, Around the World in 80 Days (1956) and Ben-Hur (1959) are winners in the category.
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 Benjamin Fuller's theatre 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), 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). He appeared in People Will Talk with Cary Grant, and he 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.
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
- The Old Man (1931) as Rennett
- The Frightened Lady (1932) as Brooks
- Rome Express (1932) as Sam, Publicist
- The Good Companions (1933) as Monte Mortimer
- Excess Baggage (1933) as Inspector Toucan
- It's a Boy (1933) (uncredited)
- Princess Charming (1934) as Baron Seegman
- Orders Is Orders (1934) as Dave
- Little Friend (1934) as Grove
- Gay Love (1934) as Highams
- My Old Dutch (1934) as Mo
- Mr. Cinders (1934) as Henry Kemp
- The Big Splash (1935) as Hartley Bassett
- In Town Tonight (1935) as The Manager
- Heat Wave (1935) as Captain (uncredited)
- The Improper Duchess (1936) as Milton Lee
- The Gay Adventure (1936) as Porter
- Wanted! (1937) as Uncle Mart
- Glamorous Night (1937) as Angus MacKintosh
- Catch as Catch Can (1937) as Al Parsons
- The Edge of the World (1937) as James Gray
- Command Performance (1937) as Al, Arthur's Manager
- Paradise for Two (1937) as Creditor (uncredited)
- The Claydon Treasure Mystery (1938) as Rubin
- Follow Your Star (1938) as Maxie
- Around the Town (1938) as Sam Wyngold
- The Royal Family of Broadway (1939, TV movie) as Oscar Wolfe
- Leviathan (1939, TV movie)
- Sun Up (1939, TV movie) as Pap Todd
- The Great Adventure (1939 TV Movie) as Texel
- One Night, One Day... (1939, TV Movie) as James
- Crook's Tour (1941) as Tourist on Desert Bus (uncredited)
- 49th Parallel (1941) as The Factor
- The Day Will Dawn (1942) as Capt. Alstad
- Thunder Rock (1942) as Capt. Joshua Stuart
- The Bells Go Down (1943) as District Officer MacFarlane
- Warn That Man (1943) as Captain Andrew Fletcher
- Theatre Royal (1943) as Clement J. Earle
- Undercover (1943) as Father (uncredited)
- They Met in the Dark (1943) as Merchant Captain
- The Shipbuilders (1943) as McWain
- Don Chicago (1945) as Bugs Mulligan
- I Know Where I'm Going! (1945) as Ruairidh Mhór
- The Trojan Brothers (1946) as W. H. Maxwell
- School for Secrets (1946) as Sir Duncan Wills
- In the Zone (1946, TV Movie) as Scotty
- Spring Song (1946) as Cobb
- Great Expectations (1946) as Magwitch
- Musical Chairs (1947, TV Movie) as Samuel Plagett
- Woman to Woman as Theatre Manager
- You Can't Take It with You (1947, TV Movie) as Martin Vanderhof
- The Brothers (1947) as Hector Macrae
- The Great Adventure (1947, TV Movie) as Texel
- So Evil My Love (1948) as Dr. Krylie
- My Brother Jonathan (1948) as Dr. Hammond
- Mr. Perrin and Mr. Traill (1948) as Sir Joshua Varley
- Sleeping Car to Trieste (1948) as Alastair MacBain
- Bonnie Prince Charlie (1948) as the Marquis of Tullibardine
- The History of Mr. Polly (1949) as Uncle Jim
- Edward, My Son (1949) as Sir Lawrence Smythe (uncredited)
- Whisky Galore! (1949) as Narrator (uncredited)
- Treasure Island (1950) as Captain Billy Bones
- Trio (1950) as Mr. McLeod (in segment Sanattorium)
- My Daughter Joy (1950) as Sir Thomas McTavish
- The Black Rose (1950) as Alfgar
- The Mudlark (1950) as John Brown
- People Will Talk (1951) as Shunderson
- Quo Vadis (1951) as Saint Peter
- Walk East on Beacon (1952) as Professor Albert Kafer
- Kangaroo (1952) as Michael McGuire
- Ivanhoe (1952) as Cedric
- Stars and Stripes Forever (1952) as Colonel Randolph
- Treasure of the Golden Condor (1953) as MacDougal
- The Broken Jug (1953, TV Movie) as Inspector Walter
- The Lass Wi' the Muckle Mou (1953, TV Movie) as Sir Gideon Murray
- Rob Roy: The Highland Rogue (1953) as Hamish MacPherson
- The End of the Road (1954) as Old "Mick-Mack"
- Beau Brummell (1954) as McIver - Brummel's Publisher (uncredited)
- Third Party Risk (1954) as Mr. Darius
- Captain Lightfoot (1955) as Callahan
- Make Me an Offer (1955) as Abe Sparta
- Thunder Rock (1955, TV Movie) as Capt. Joshua Stuart
- Footsteps in the Fog (1955) as Inspector Peters
- King's Rhapsody (1955) as King Paul
- Around the World in 80 Days (1956) as Andrew Stuart, Reform Club member
- Zarak (1957) as the Mullah
- Seven Waves Away (1957) as Mr. Wheaton
- The Little Hut (1957) as the Reverend Bertram Brittingham-Bell
- Saint Joan (1957) as Archbishop of Rheims
- Campbell's Kingdom (1957) as Old Man
- Dangerous Exile (1957) as Mr. Patient
- The Naked Earth (1958) as Father Verity
- Tempest (1958) as Count Grinov
- Corridors of Blood (1958) as Supt. Matheson
- Solomon and Sheba (1959) as King David
- Ben-Hur (1959) as Balthasar / Narrator
- Hand in Hand (1960) as Mr. Pritchard
- Kidnapped (1960) as Cluny MacPherson
- The Angel Wore Red (1960) as Bishop
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960) as Capt. Sellers
- Clue of the Silver Key (1961) as Harvey Lane
- Five Golden Hours (1961) as Father Superior
- Francis of Assisi (1961) as the Pope
- Joseph and His Brethren (1961) as Jacob
- Go to Blazes (1962) as the Judge
- The Inspector (1962) as De Kool
- The Amorous Prawn (1962) as Lochaye
- Cleopatra (1963) as Titus (uncredited)
- Murder at the Gallop (1963) as Old Enderby
- The Cracksman (1963) as Feathers
- Billy Liar (1963) as Duxbury
- West 11 (1963) as Mister Cash
- The Three Lives of Thomasina (1964) as Grandpa Stirling
- The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) as Senator
- Who Was Maddox? (1964) as Alec Campbell
- The Battle of the Villa Fiorita (1965) as Emcee
- Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965) as Doll Maker
- Brigadoon (1966, TV Movie) as Mr. Lundie
- Alice in Wonderland (1966, TV Movie) as Dodo
- Vendetta for the Saint (1969) as Don Pasquale
Partial television credits
- Danger Man – Episode "That's Two of Us Sorry" (1965) as Jock
- The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre – Episode "Clue of the Silver Key" (1961) as Harvey Lane
- The Prisoner – Episode "The Chimes of Big Ben" (1967) as General
- The Saint - Episode "Vendetta for the Saint" (1968) as Don Pasquale (final television appearance)
- Gideon's Way Episode "The Thin Red Line" (1966) as the General
- "Finlay Currie - Theatricalia". theatricalia.com.
- "Finlay Currie". BFI. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
- "BFI Screenonline: Currie, Finlay (1878-1968) Biography". www.screenonline.org.uk.
- "Ben-Hur (1959) - William Wyler - Review". AllMovie.
- "Finlay Currie - Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos". AllMovie.
- "Undercover (1943) - Sergei Nolbandov - Cast and Crew". AllMovie.
- "Ivanhoe (1952) - Richard Thorpe - Review". AllMovie.
- "The Ordeal of Dr Shannon (1963)". BFI.
- Finlay Currie's appearance on This Is Your Life, bigredbook.info;, accessed 9 March 2015.
- "Brigadoon (1966)". BFI.
- "Finlay Currie - Movies and Filmography". AllMovie.
- "Finlay Currie". IMDb.