For whatever reason the Hastings Observer didn’t get around to announcing the death of actor Jon Finch, 71, until today (1.11). His body was reportedly found on 12.28 (two weeks ago!) at his Old Town home in the English coastal village of Hastings.

In my mind Finch had a two-year peak period in which he gave an absolutely brilliant lead performance in Roman Polanski‘s Macbeth (’71) and then played an unjustly prosecuted murder suspect in Alfred Hitchcock‘s Frenzy (’72), He also played a small but memorable role as a lushy gay Scottish hustler in John Schlesinger‘s Sunday Bloody Sunday, and a cuckolded husband in Robert Bolt‘s Lady Caroline Lamb (’72), which was a commercial and critical flop.

And then he turned down an offer to play James Bond (or so it’s been reported), and that was all she wrote. Finch worked enough to keep his hand in and stay afloat over the next 40 years but he never caught fire again, at least to an extent that he caught my attention.

Finch’s ex-partner Helen Drake, who lives in Cornwall, told the Hastings Observer that she and Finch “remained very close…we were like a little family and saw each other regularly in the Old Town. He had been quite unwell for a while as he suffered from diabetes and was becoming confused.

“Jon was quiet and a private person but very warm and generous. He had a fantastic sense of humor. Jon was a wonderful father to his 19-year-old daughter Holly. They got on well and always laughed, having fun together.”

The story explains that Finch moved to Hastings in 2003 “and liked to frequent the pubs in the Old Town.”

Here’s an mp3 of Finch delivering my favorite Macbeth passage:

“Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased?
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,
Raze out the written troubles of the brain
And with some sweet oblivious antidote
Cleanse the stuffed bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart?”