He blazed across our TV screens as one part of The Professionals team in the 1970s, but Lewis Collins was more than just Bodie. So it’s sad to report that the star of stage and screen, has died at the age of 67.
Collins, who was born in Cheshire, didn’t immediately embrace acting as a career. He started his working life as a hairdresser and played with various music acts including The Mojos before deciding to try his luck treading the boards. He trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and then segued into rep theatre in Chesterfield and Glasgow before a touring session with Prospect Theatre Company.
His first TV break was in Z-Cars in 1974, which kicked off a run of guest star parts in a variety of other series. But in 1977, he got the role that he’d be best remembered for: tough nut copper Bodie in The Professionals. The ITV series, which also starred Martin Shaw and Gordon Jackson, became an institution, and ran until 1983.
“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,” Shaw told the BBC. “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.”
Outside of work, Collins was every bit the action man, even delaying production of the show once after breaking his leg skydiving. He even auditioned to play James Bond, though he’s since said he was considered “too aggressive” for the role. But he did work on the big screen, most famously appearing in Who Dares Wins. Collins, who moved to Los Angeles and started a computer business after retiring from acting, had been battling cancer for five years. He’s survived by his wife and three sons, and our thoughts are with them.