Earlier today a New Orleans-based friend of a friend wrote a tribute to Albert Finney on his Facebook page. About the time he worked alongside Finney on the set of Miller’s Crossing, which shot in the Nyawlins area:
“Finney’s role of Leo in Miller’s Crossing was originally written for Trey Wilson, who played Nathan Arizona in Raising Arizona. Trey died days before shooting. Finney stepped in on a few days notice and was incredible in the role.
“Finney went right to the production office when he got to town and announced loudly to all, ‘My name is Albert Finney but you can call me whatever the hell you want!’ He then kissed all the women and charmed all the men.
“Finney chose a teamster as his driver, a guy whose father worked at the racetrack. He had the driver take him to the track every day, spending lots of time [there].
“Albert had a table waiting at every Marva Wright show. More then once I saw Marva stop a show and tell folks to ‘make way for Mr. Albert.’
“There was a cigar store back then on Royal, just off Canal Street. The woman who worked the counter was older and British. Albert would stop in to buy cigars and the woman, noticing his British accent, became friendly with him.
“One day as he was leaving she said, ‘Has anyone ever told you you look a bit like Albert Finney?’ He replied, ‘Do you think so?’ She answered, “Yes, but I’m afraid he’s a bit more handsome than you.” Finney walked out laughing.
“Finney was everything I ever thought a movie star would be, and getting to observe him on stage and off remains one of the joys in my life.”