William Finley, Star of Brian De Palma’s 'Phantom of the Paradise,' Dies at 69

12:14 PM PST 04/16/2012 by Mike Barnes

Quirky actor appeared in several films for the director, including "Dionysus," "Sisters" and "The Fury."

William Finley, a regular performer for Brian De Palma who starred as the deformed title character in the director’s 1974 cult classic Phantom of the Paradise, died April 14. He was 69.

Finley’s death was reported by the website Edgar Wright Here. No other details were available.

Finley, a longtime friend and a classmate of De Palma’s at Sarah Lawrence College in New York, also played the husband of Margot Kidder's character in the director’s 1973 breakout, Sisters, as well as appearing in Woton’s Wake (1962), Murder a la Mod (1968), The Wedding Party (1969), Dionysus (1970), The Fury (1978), Dressed to Kill (1980) and The Black Dahlia (2006).

The lanky Finley also starred in three Tobe Hooper films: Eaten Alive (1977), The Funhouse (1981, as drunken carnival magician Marco the Magnificent) and Night Terrors (1995).

In De Palma's rock-music riff on The Phantom of the Opera,
 Finley memorably starred as Winslow Leach, a songwriter who is ripped off and framed by a despicable record producer (Paul Williams). After he is caught in a record press and horribly disfigured, Leach is reborn as the Phantom.

And in another off-center performance, Finley portrayed a mad scientist opposite Chuck Norris in Silent Rage (1982).

In addition to acting, Finley composed the theme song for Murder a la Mod and co-wrote the coming-of-age comedy The First Time (1983).

Survivors include his wife Susan and son Dashiell.

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