Lewis Collins has died in Los Angeles, after a five-year struggle with cancer, at the age of 67, his agent has announced.
The Professionals actor played Bodie in the cult 1970s TV series alongside Martin Shaw.
Lewis Collins’ agent said: “He died peacefully at his LA home surrounded by his family. Privacy is asked for at this very sad time.”
The Professionals was based around the adventures of a fictional crime fighting unit called CI5.
The ITV show became huge hit in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Lewis Collins’s other notable roles included SAS captain Peter Skellen in 1982’s Who Dares Wins.
Martin Shaw, currently appearing in a West End production of 12 Angry Men, said he was saddened by the news of his co-star’s death.
“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 said.
“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.”
Lewis Collins was born in May 1946 in Cheshire, UK, and worked as a drummer and a hairdresser before breaking into acting.
Early work included roles in popular TV series such as Z Cars and The New Avengers, as well as a recurring role in The Cuckoo Waltz.
Lewis Collins became a household name with the debut of The Professionals in 1977, which ran for six years and won him a global following as hard man William Bodie.
Towards the end of The Professionals, Lewis Collins played the lead in the British thriller Who Dares Wins, as an SAS soldier who infiltrates a terrorist group.
Around this time, Lewis Collins auditioned for the role of James Bond.
“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.”
Unlike his co-star, Lewis Collins was never able to match his success in The Professionals.
Lewis Collins continued working across the ’80s and ’90s and was last seen on screen in 2002 in The Bill.
Lewis Collins is survived by his wife, Michelle – whom he married in 1992 – and three sons.
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