Charles was born Charles Peter George Thomas Ingle-Finch, to an ancient Cambridgeshire family, whose fortune came from iron mongering and banking. The family seat was in Little Shelford where William Finch Finch – later Ingle-Finch – held Lordship of the Major in 1745. The family had landholdings in England and interests in Australia.
Charles is the son of BAFTA and Academy Award winning actor Peter Finch and grandson of George Ingle-Finch MC, MBE, FRS, the legendary mountaineer who climbed with Mallory on the first 1922 Everest expedition and invented the down-filled jacket. His uncle was the highly decorated Battle of Britain squadron leader, Michael Ingle-Finch DFC, AFC. His mother was the Scottish, South African born heiress Yolande Turnbull, whose family interest included dairies, mines and hotels throughout South Africa.
Charles’ early years took place in Jamaica on the family banana plantation, Bamboo in St Anne Parish. He was later schooled in England, France and Scotland, where he was head boy at Gordonstoun. He captained the record breaking 1st XV for three years and went on to play briefly for London Scottish Club and for the Old Ed’s in South Africa. He won a Morehead scholarship to Chapel Hill University. A keen sportsman, Charles learnt to sail and mountain climb from an early age.
He began in the entertainment business as an assistant to Lord Putnam on Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero, and he subsequently went on to work for producers Peter Guber and Jon Peters at Warner Bros in Hollywood. His filmmaking career began in earnest in 1988, when he wrote and directed his first feature film Priceless Beauty, starring Diane Lane and Christopher Lambert, which debuted at Cannes Film Festival.
Charles went onto write and direct two further motion pictures: Where Sleeping Dogs Lie in 1991, starring Sharon Stone and Dylan Mcdermott, and Never Ever in 1996, starring Jane March and Sandrine Bonnaire. The latter, which he also acted in, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. He has since produced 18 feature films and documentaries, winning the prestigious Grierson Award for Best Drama Documentary in 2005. In 2017 he executive produced Nick Broomfield’s Whitney: Can I Be Me? And in 2018 Nick Broomfield’s Leonard and Marianne: Words of Love, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2019.
Turning to business, after the disappointing reception of Never Ever, Charles was recruited by the leading talent agency William Morris in 2001. By the age of thirty he was head of Motion Picture International. He represented entertainment companies including BBC WORLDWIDE, Film 4, Granada, Talkback and leading artists, including Cate Blanchett, John Malkovich, Kristin Scott Thomas and Willem Dafoe. His European star roster included Sophie Marceau, Gerard Depardieu, Isabelle Huppert, Monica Bellucci and others.
It was when packaging projects that he saw the opportunity for talent agencies to finance programming, a controversial idea at the time. He also pioneered red carpet endorsement and product placement deals, raising them to a level previously unseen. He went on to close some of the highest endorsement deals in the history of the entertainment business, for the likes of George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts, Uma Thurman, Julianne Moore and Jennifer Lawrence. He made similar deals in the music industry.
After leaving William Morris, Charles built Finch & Partners, the strategic brand development, advisory and investment firm, with offices in London, New York and Hong Kong