Lewis Collins, a star of the British television series The Professionals, has died at 67, according to obituaries by THE BBC and the DAILY MAIL. He also unsuccessfully tried out to play James Bond in the early 1980s.
The Professionals, created by Brian Clemens, concerned operatives of CI5, which was assigned to combat terrorism and other major crimes. Collins played William Bodie, a former paratrooper and SAS soldier who had a “rule-free approach to policing,” according to the Daily Mail’s obituary.
Both obits reference how Collins auditioned for the part of 007 in 1982, when it appeared Roger Moore might have departed the role for good. Each obit references a quote where Broccoli is supposed to have found Collins “too aggressive” to play Bond. Here’s the key passage in the BBC obituary:
“I was in Albert R Broccoli’s office for five minutes, but it was really over for me in seconds,” he is reported to have said.
“He’s expecting another Connery to walk through the door and there are few of them around.”
UPDATE (3:10 p.m.): The BBC has AN INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR IAN SHARP who worked with Collins a number of times. Sharp had this to say about Collins’s 007 audition:
Everybody agrees Lewis would have made a great James Bond. He had all the right qualities: He had the looks, he had the humour, he didn’t take himself too seriously.
These days people would grab him with both hands. In those days, they wanted the smoothie type, like Roger Moore and, if you like, he was a Daniel Craig in a Roger Moore era.
Thanks to @bondmemes for pointing out the Ian Sharp interview on Twitter.
Filed under: James Bond Films, The Other Spies Tagged: | Albert R. Broccoli, BBC, Brian Clemens, Daily Mail, James Bond Films, Lewis Collins, Lewis Collins dies, Roger Moore, The Other Spies, The Professionals