AN ACTOR who declined an offer to play James Bond in the 1970s has died.
Jon Finch, of Croft Road, was found in his flat in the Old Town on December 28 after friends and family became concerned for his welfare. He was 70.
The actor, who was born in Caterham, Surrey, became noted for mainly starring in Shakespearean plays.
Mr Finch’s highest profile roles were the lead in Roman Polanski’s version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth (1971), and as a down-on-his-luck, ex-RAF pilot falsely imprisoned for murder in Alfred Hitchcock’s penultimate film Frenzy (1972).
In the early phase of his career, he also appeared in The Vampire Lovers (1970), Lady Caroline Lamb (1972), and The Final Programme (1973).
In the same year the actor was offered to be the next James Bond in Live and Let Die but he declined the part as well as a role in the movie The Three Musketeers from Richard Lester. Roger Moore instead took on the part of James Bond in Live and Let Die and starred in all Bond movies until his last one, A View to a Kill (1985).
Mr Finch was once married to the actress Catriona MacColl. They divorced in 1987.
His ex-partner Helen Drake, who lives in Cornwall, said: “Jon and I remained very close and 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 humour. Jon was a wonderful father to his 19-year-old daughter Holly. They got on well and always laughed, having fun together.”
Mr Finch moved to Hastings in 2003 and liked to frequent the pubs in the Old Town.
His ex-partner added: “Jon did not like all the media attention associated with acting. He enjoyed doing acting for what it was.” Mr Finch’s funeral was held yesterday (Thursday) at All Saints Church.