She starred opposite the late British actor in the 2000 film about a single mom's fight against a California power company
Hollywood and fans alike mourned the loss of actor Albert Finney when news of his death at age 82 broke on Friday.
Finney starred opposite Julia Roberts in the 2000 Oscar-winning drama Erin Brockovich, based on a real-life story. Roberts, 51, played the titular legal assistant and Finney her lawyer Ed Masry, who was instrumental in the lawsuit against Pacific Gas & Electric Company.
“It was my terrific joy and privilege to work with Albert,” Roberts tells PEOPLE exclusively. “His talent was eclipsed only by his enormous heart.”
The British star received an Oscar nomination for his role in Erin Brockovich, as well as his turns in Under the Volcano (1984), The Dresser (1983), Murder on the Orient Express (1974) and Tom Jones (1963). He was also known for playing Daddy Warbucks in the 1982 version of Annie. Roberts won Best Actress for Erin Brockovich.
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“The reason I agreed to Annie was because I thought I still looked cute enough, and my charm was not totally chipped away,” Finney joked to PEOPLE in 1982.
In 2011, Finney revealed that he had been suffering from kidney cancer, and on Thursday, he succumbed to symptoms of an undisclosed illness, his family said in a statement obtained by the BBC. A publicist told The Guardian that Finney died on of a chest infection at the Royal Marsden hospital just outside of London.