Daniel Craig said “the world has lost a giant” as he paid tribute to Albert Finney, who has died aged 82 following a short illness.
Five-time Oscar nominee Finney played James Bond’s gruff gamekeeper Kincade in Skyfall.
He said: “I’m deeply saddened by the news of Albert Finney’s passing. The world has lost a giant.”
Referencing Finney’s turn in the acclaimed 23rd Bond film, Craig added: “Wherever Albert is now, I hope there are horses and good company.”
Skyfall and Spectre director Sam Mendes also paid tribute, describing Finney as a “brilliant, beautiful, big-hearted, life loving delight of a man”.
He said: “It is desperately sad news that Albert Finney has gone. He really was one of the greats – a brilliant, beautiful, big-hearted, life loving delight of a man. He will be terribly missed.”
The producers of the Bond franchise added their voices, saying they were “heartbroken at the loss”.
Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, the co-producers of Eon Productions, led tributes to the late actor, best known for roles in Tom Jones, Erin Brockovich and Annie.
They said: “We are heartbroken at the loss of Albert Finney. It was a privilege to work with him and an honour to have had him as part of our Bond family.”
Celebrities from the world of comedy, television, film and theatre also posted messages online after the news broke.
Bernadette Peters starred opposite Finney as Lily St Regis, Rooster’s girlfriend, in the 1982 film version of Annie.
She said: “So sad to hear of the passing of Albert Finney. I had the great pleasure of working with him on ‘Annie’ the movie. Who could forget him in Tom Jones.”
Miranda Hart thanked Finney for his enduring performance as Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks in Annie.
She said: “Aaaah goodbye Daddy Warbucks. Thanks to Albert Finney (and Carol Burnett) in Annie my quest to play and sing for a life style began. What an actor he was. Thank you.”
The Usual Suspects director Christopher McQuarrie drew attention to Finney’s talent for combining “power and powerlessness”.
He said: “Remember the great Albert Finney tonight by watching Miller’s Crossing and Under The Volcano – two vastly different performances that showcase his unique ability to combine power with powerlessness.”
English actor David Morrissey hailed Finney as one of the greats.
He said: “Both on stage and screen. A powerhouse of an actor. A real hero of mine. RIP Albert Finney.”
Comic David Baddiel simply described Finney as “so brilliant” in a post to Twitter.
Actor Rufus Sewell appeared alongside Finney in the 1994 comedy drama A Man Of No Importance.
He said of his death: “Very sad to hear about Albert Finney. I had the enormous privilege of working with him early on.
“Apart from being effortlessly great he was also a great all round example of how to behave.”
Comedian David Walliams posted a black and white photograph of Finney on Twitter, writing alongside it: “The beautiful Albert Finney.”
A representative of the National Theatre said it was “deeply saddened to hear of the death of Albert Finney”.
The statement went on to say Finney had been a “huge part of the National Theatre acting company from its early days in Chichester and performed many roles over the years, including Hamlet which opened the Lyttelton Theatre in 1976″.
A spokesman for the Old Vic said: “We are very sad to hear of the loss of Albert Finney.
“His performances in plays by Shakespeare, Chekhov and other iconic playwrights throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s stand apart as some of the greatest in our 200-year history.”
The BBC has announced a change to its schedule in the wake of Finney’s death and will show his film A Man Of No Importance on BBC One on Sunday February 10 at 11.30pm.