LONDON: British actor Lewis Collins, star of the cult television crime drama “The Professionals”, has died at the age of 67, his agent said on Thursday.
Collins, who played the taciturn tough guy Bodie alongside co-star Martin Shaw in the action-packed cop show, died in Los Angeles after a five-year battle with cancer. “He died peacefully at his LA home surrounded by his family. Privacy is asked for at this very sad time,” his agent said in a statement.
With its memorable theme tune and high-octane stunts, “The Professionals” was one of the biggest hits on British television during its run from 1977 to 1981. It featured close-cropped Collins and curly-haired Shaw as Bodie and Doyle, the key members of a fictional crime-fighting unit called CI5, with a distinctive silver Ford Capri car.
Collins also starred in the 1982 film “Who Dares Wins” about the British army's elite Special Air Service (SAS). He said he had auditioned for the role of James Bond after that but subsequently dropped out of acting and set up a computer business in the United States.
Born in Merseyside, northwest England, he initially worked as a hairdresser and a musician in local bands.
Shaw, who went on to have a successful television career, led tributes to his former co-star. “I was very sad to hear today that Lewis has died,” Shaw 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.”
Former Spandau Ballet star and actor Gary Kemp tweeted: “The man who should have been Bond. RIP Lewis Collins. You were supercool.”