He grew up in Manchester, northwest England, and studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Instead, he teamed up with Richardson again for the 1963 film version of Henry Fielding's classic comic novel Tom Jones.
Albert Finney's friends and peers are remembering the acclaimed actor after learning the news of his passing.
Colin Hanks, son of Oscar-winner Tom, said Finney was "a damn fine actor" who "made it seem effortless, even when you knew it wasn't".
In the ensuing decade, Finney's status as an established star saw him appear in a wide variety of material, including a mainstream musical (Scrooge), a low-budget crime comedy (Gumshoe, Stephen Frears' directorial debut) and the star-packed Agatha Christie adaptation Murder on the Orient Express, in which he played Hercule Poirot.
He also turned down both a CBE and a knighthood.
He said of his death: "Very sad to hear about Albert Finney".
From 1970 to 1978 he was married to French actress Anouk Aimée.
Finney also had an illustrious career in the theater, as evidenced by his inclusion in a postage stamp series commemorating the 200th anniversary of London's Old Vic theater (his stamp is for the John Osborne drama "Luther"). He won for outstanding supporting actor for Erin Brockovich, and he joined his Traffic co-stars in winning for outstanding performance by a cast.
Despite this long list of accolades, Finney never attended the Oscars ceremony.
Emmys: Outstanding lead actor for The Gathering Storm. Funeral arrangements weren't immediately known.
He was married to his wife Pene Delmage in 2006.