Wednesday 09 September 2009
The obituary of Keith Waterhouse (8 September) reminded me of an interview I once did with Albert Finney, who told me a lovely story about his West End debut as a leading man, in Waterhouse's famous play Billy Liar,
writes Brian Viner.
Finney was not yet well-known when he was cast, but after Billy Liar had opened at the Cambridge Theatre, Karel Reisz's film Saturday Night, Sunday Morning came out. Practically overnight, Finney became a star, and the producer of the play promptly had his name put above the title. The following Saturday Finney's parents came down from Salford to see Billy Liar, but it had to be a matinee because his father, a bookmaker also called Albert Finney, needed to be back by evening to do the reckoning.
"I met them at the station," Finney recalled, "and we took a cab to the stage door, where they left their bits and pieces, then we went off for a spot of lunch. We went up the side of the Cambridge Theatre, crossed Seven Dials, and when we got across the road I said, 'Look.' And there it was, 'Albert Finney in Billy Liar'. I said, 'Right, come on, let's go and get some lunch,' and my mother and I strolled on, but my father just stood there, looking up. I went back and said, 'Come on Dad, I haven't got much time.' But he just stayed there, gazing. 'I never thought I'd ever see my name in lights,' he said."
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 2 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 4 Dad attempts revenge on teenage daughter, plan backfires spectacularly
- 5 Ball pool for adults opens in London
Isis 'throw man off a building for homosexual affair' and beat him to death when he survives
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Boris Johnson claims porn-obsessed Islamic jihadists are 'literally w*****s'
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...