September 9, 1940 - April 14, 2012
William Finley passed away yesterday morning following a surgery, details of which are unknown at this time. He was 71. Born in 1940, Finley met Brian De Palma at college, and began acting in De Palma's early films, beginning with the award-winning short, Woton's Wake. It is next to impossible to think of De Palma's cinema without William Finley. He appeared onscreen in seven of De Palma's feature films: The Wedding Party, Murder à la Mod, Dionysus In '69, Sisters, Phantom Of The Paradise (Finley's most famous and beloved role), The Fury, and The Black Dahlia. Finley also provided the offscreen voice of Bobbi in De Palma's Dressed To Kill. In the early 1980s, Finley helped one of De Palma's Home Movies students from Sarah Lawrence College, Charlie Loventhal, by contributing to the script of Loventhal's directorial debut, The First Time. Finley appeared in three films by cult horror director Tobe Hooper: Eaten Alive, The Funhouse, and Night Terrors. Filmmaker Edgar Wright, who counts Phantom Of The Paradise as one of his favorite films, posted on his blog tonight about hearing the news of Finley's passing. Wright notes that Finley's other roles "included Marshall Brickman’s underseen and underrated comedy Simon with Alan Arkin," and "the bonkers Silent Rage." Finley also had an uncredited role in John Huston's Wise Blood.
Below is the intro to De Palma's Murder à la Mod, which features a theme song written and performed by Finley, who also stars in the film as Otto.