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Thread: British actor Lewis Collins of cult 70's show The Professionals has died age 67

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    Elite Member Kittylady's Avatar
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    Default British actor Lewis Collins of cult 70's show The Professionals has died age 67

    Professionals star Lewis Collins - the man who was 'too aggressive' to be James Bond - dies after five-year battle with cancer

    • Actor played Bodie in the crime drama
    • Collins auditioned for James Bond, but rejected for being 'too aggressive'
    • Father-of-three Collins, 67, died in Los Angeles yesterday, agent says
    • Star was surrounded by his family

    Professional: Lewis Collins as tough guy Bodie in the 1970s show

    Actor Lewis Collins, star of the cult television show The Professionals, has died at the age of 67.
    Collins, who played taciturn tough guy Bodie alongside Martin Shaw, had fought a five-year battle with cancer.

    'He died peacefully at his Los Angeles home surrounded by his family. Privacy is asked for at this very sad time,' his agent said in a statement.
    Speaking today, Shaw paid tribute to his co-star.

    'I was very sad to hear today that Lewis has died,' he said.

    'We spent a very tough four years together in making The Professionals, and shared in the production of what has become an icon of British Television.

    'He will be remembered as part of the childhood of so many people, and mourned by his fans. I send my love and condolences to his family, and the great many who will miss him.'

    Father-of-three Collins, who was born in Merseyside, lived with his wife Michelle and sons Oliver, Elliot, and Cameron in Los Angeles in the years before his death.
    Known for his role as tough-guy Bodie, Collins was a popular character in The Professionals, which was famed for its Ford Capris, tight trousers, and 1970s rule-free approach to policing.
    The Professionals made stars of Collins and Shaw, was based around the adventures of a fictional crime fighting unit called CI5, which had been instructed by the Home Secretary to use any means necessary to deal with serious crime.
    Former paratrooper and SAS solider William Bodie, played by Collins, was a keen partier and ladies man, more relaxed than his on-screen partner Raymond Doyle, who was brought to life by Shaw.
    The duo answered to George Cowley, the founder and head of CI5 played by Gordon Jackson, who would tell his agents to 'fight fire with fire' in order to get their targets.


    Father: Collins had three sons, Oliver, Elliot and Cameron and was photographed picking one of his children up from a sports event in Los Angeles in 2011

    Icon: The actor died peacefully surrounded by his family, according to his agent

    The show's memorable theme tune and action-packed plots made it a huge hit on ITV in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

    Initially, Anthony Andrews, best known for Brideshead Revisted, was contracted to play Bodie, but he and Shaw did not have the chemistry that producers were looking for.


    Michael Grade: 'He was Bodie. A big hunky macho character with a lovely innocence about him.'
    Piers Morgan: 'Sad news about Lewis Collins. Terrifically cool actor. Loved watching The Professionals as a kid. RIP.'
    Colin Baker: 'He was the year below me at drama school. Had style!'

    Born in Birkenhead, Wirral, Collins started out as a hairdresser before he started playing drums and guitar in pop groups, and had a number of other jobs before he decided to become an actor.

    After training at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and performing on numerous theatre tours, he won the role that would make him famous in 1977, continuing until the series ended in 1981.

    Explosive; Collins (right) with co-stars Martin Shaw (left) and Gordon Jackson (centre) on the set of The Professionals in 1978

    Action hero: Collins's character William Bodie was a ruthless former paratrooper who was not afraid to take on criminals including terrorists, hit-men and spies

    Lewis Collins playing Bodie in iconic 80s series The...

    In 1982 he auditioned for the role of James Bond but his audition was deemed 'too aggressive'.

    'I was in Albert R Broccoli's office for five minutes, but it was really over for me in seconds,' he reportedly said.

    'He's expecting another Connery to walk through the door and there are few of them around.'

    Outside of The Professionals, which is currently being re-shown on ITV Four, his best known role came playing SAS officer Captain Peter Skellen in the 1982 film Who Dares Wins.

    He subsequently applied to join the Territorial SAS, a unit open to part-time reservists but was rejected because of his fame, despite passing the entrance tests.

    He also appeared in 1970s sitcom The Cuckoo Waltz, which dealt with the comic complications that ensue when impoverished newlyweds Chris and Fliss Hawthorne, played by David Roper and Diane Keen, take in a lodger, Gavin Rumsey (Collins) to ease their financial problems.

    Family man: Collins with wife Michelle Larrett and their 19-month old son Oliver at their wedding in 1992. The couple had three sons

    Hollywood calling: The actor was born in the Wirral but relocated to Los Angeles where he lived in this low-key house with his family

    Collins had another taste of on-screen policing when he played Dr Peter Alan, a research scientist in need of police protection, in a 2002 episode of The Bill.

    In early 2012, Collins was cast to play Earl Godwin in the historically based feature film production of 1066, although in June 2013 it was reported that he had withdrawn from the production.

    He married teacher Michelle Larrett in 1992, and the couple went on to have their three sons.

    Daredevil: Collins vaulting a railing above the streets of London in 1981. He auditioned for James Bond, but was told he was 'too aggressive' for the part

    Soldier: Outside of The Professionals, his best known role came playing SAS officer Captain Peter Skellen in the 1982 film Who Dares Wins, alongside Ingrid Pitt (centre) and Mark Ryan (right)

    Return to screens: Lewis Collins in ITV police drama The Bill

    Many of Collins's friends and former colleagues were quick to pay tribute to the actor.

    Former BBC chairman, and ITV executive chairman Michael Grade said of the actor: 'He was Bodie.

    'A big hunky macho character with a lovely innocence about him.'

    Creator of The Professionals Brian Clemens told the BBC: 'I thought he would have made a marvellous Bond.

    'He was tough and he could fight, he looked good, he was handsome and he had this nice sense of humour.'

    Sensitive side: Bodie often hid his intelligent side behind his macho image, enjoying English literature and playing the piano

    Doctor Who star Colin Baker tweeted: 'Sad to hear that Lewis Collins has died. He was the year below me at drama school. Had style!'

    Brian Conley, who played Collins's son in 1999 series The Grimleys wrote: 'God bless lewis Collins, my dad in The Grimleys. A great actor and a lovely man.'

    Actress Daniella Westbrook also paid tribute to Collins on Twitter saying: 'So sad to hear the handsome & talented Lewis Collins has lost his battle to cancer today. He was a true gent. Sending love to his family.'


    Collins made his on-screen debut in 1974 in an episode of another famous police show, Z-Cars. He enjoyed bit-parts in a number of popular programmes, including The New Avengers, and played lodger Gavin Rumsey in comedy The Cuckoo Waltz.

    It was in 1977 when he got his big break, winning the role of former SAS man William Bodie in hit show The Professionals, starring alongside Martin Shaw and Gordon Jackson.

    The series ended in 1981, and the year after viewers were treated to another famous Collins role - Captain Peter Skellen - in Who Dares Wins, which was loosely based on the Iranian Embassy siege in 1980.

    In 1988 Collins played Sergeant George Godley in the miniseries Jack The Ripper, which also starred Michael Caine as Chief Inspector Frederick Abberline.

    Collins returned to television screens in 2002, when he appeared in an episode of The Bill.

    Read more: Professionals star Lewis Collins dies after five-year battle with cancer | Mail Online
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    Elite Member AgentOrange's Avatar
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    Anyone remember the Professionals groovy theme tune?

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