Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Lewis Collins R.I.P.

Lewis Collins, who may have been best known for starring the TV show The Professionals, died 27 November 2013 at the age of 67. The cause was cancer.

Lewis Collins was born 27 May 1946 in Bidston, Birkenhead, Cheshire. His father was a shipwright and jazz musician, and by age 13 Mr. Collins had learned to play the drums. He played with his father's jazz band and later a local Liverpool band called The Renegades. Lewis Collins also apprenticed as a hairdresser. Learning bass, he served as a bassist for a rock group The Eyes and The Mojos. After holding jobs from window cleaner to lorry driver, Lewis Collins studied acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He went onto perform at  the Glasgow Citizens Theatre in Glasgow and the Royal Court Theatre in London. In 1974 he made his television debut in an episode of Z Cars. He guest starred on such shows as Marked Personal, Village Hall, Crown Court, Warship, and Rooms before becoming a regular on the show The Cuckoo Waltz. He made his film debut in a bit part in Confessions of a Driving Instructor (1976). He guest starred in an episode of The New Avengers before being cast in The Professionals. The Professionals proved successful, running for five series. He also appeared in the film Must Wear Tights (1978).

In the Eighties Lewis Collins appeared in the films Who Dares Wins (1982), Code Name: Wild Geese (1984), and Der Commander (1988). He guest starred on the show Robin of Sherwood and the Eighties revival of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. He appeared in the two part television film Jack the Ripper. In the Nineties he appeared as Colonel Mustard in the serial Cluedo. He guest starred on the shows Tarzan, The Grimleys, and The Bill. After his acting career had ended he sold computer equipment.

While Lewis Collins' acting career was hardly extensive, there can be no doubt he was ideal for playing action heroes. He was convincing as Bodie on The Professionals, bringing to the character a mixture of old fashioned machismo and a sense of humour. Lewis Collins played the role well, so well that he was considered as a possible replacement for Roger Moore as James Bond. (according to Mr. Collins he didn't get the role because producer Cubby Broccoli thought he was too aggressive). While he was not cast as Bond, Mr. Collins left a mark as Bodie on The Professionals.

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