William Finley, who portrayed the doomed anti-hero Winslow Leach in Phantom of the Paradise has passed away at the age of 69.
Born on September 30, 1942 in New York City, Mr. Finley went to Columbia University where he met future film director, Brian DePalma. They formed an instant friendship that would last a lifetime, which saw the 6'4" actor making several movies with him including DePalma's first student film, Wonton's Way; Murder a la Mode (Mr. Finley also composed the theme song for the movie); the Wedding Party and Sisters.
But, it was Phantom of the Paradise; a cross between Goethe's Faust and Phantom of the Opera, that put him on the map. Filmed on a budget of $1.3 million dollars, the movie is filled with quirky characters such as Gerrit Graham's prissy rock star, Beef, the evil, teen idol turned record producer who sold his soul to the devil, Swan, wonderfully portrayed by Paul Williams and the femme fatale love interest, Phoenix, portrayed by the beautiful Jessica Harper.
Years later, Mr. Finney would appear in Brian DePalma's, The Fury, as well as work with Tobe Hooper on Eaten Alive along with Texas Chainsaw horror icon Marylin Burns and seen in the Funhouse as a decrepit, carnival magician.
He co-wrote the script for a coming-of-age story The First Time and his final appearance was in De Palma's Black Dahlia as a sleazy private eye.
Thank you for your great performances, Mr. Finley. Rest In Peace.