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Albert Finney and One of His Finest (Legal) Roles

The death of British actor Albert Finney brings to mind the busy year the Oscar-winning actor had almost two decades ago when – among other movies – he achieved a nomination for his role in Erin Brockovich

He played California lawyer Ed Masry, opposite Julia roberts as Erin Brockovich. Masry was a veteran Los Angeles lawyer who employed Brockovich and reluctantly let her continue investigating the scandal. Masry eventually realized she was onto something big and together they helped residents achieve a major lawsuit victory, as did Albert Finney playing Masry.

An LA Times story at the time reported Finney saying:

“At first I thought, ‘A California lawyer? That shouldn’t be too hard.’ But it’s always more complicated than you think.

“Ed was actually on the verge of retirement. He had boxes packed in his office. He was about to go off to Palm Springs, to do whatever it is people do there.

“But through this woman discovering a talent for relentless questioning and forcing him to take [the case] on, Ed’s still not retired. He and Erin have another two cases they are working on. I suppose it’s five or six years since that first case was settled. So Erin’s rekindled his belief in the law. As I say in the film, Ed had $1 million in the bank and a minor heart condition. He could justifiably have retired, but there he is, still working.”

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