'The Professionals' Lewis Collins dies; British actor was 67

lewis-collins-dies-the-professionals.jpgAfter a five-year battle with cancer, British actor Lewis Collins has passed away at the age of 67, reports the AP. He died peacefully at his Los Angeles-area home on Wednesday (Nov. 27).

Collins was best known for playing William Bodie in the 1970s crime drama "The Professionals" alongside Martin Shaw. Collins' Bodie was an ex-paratrooper and mercenary, a hardened yet patient agent, in sharp contrast to Shaw's Ray Doyle, who was hot-tempered and shoot-first-ask-questions-later.

Shaw released a statement upon Collins' passing: "I was very sad to hear today that Lewis has died. We spent a 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."

Collis also starred in British series "The Cuckoo Waltz" and "Cluedo," where he played Col. Mustard of the famous board game. He also auditioned to play James Bond when the franchise was looking for the actor to take over from Roger Moore -- but Collins was deemed too tough for the part and Timothy Dalton was chosen. Ironically, Dalton was often criticized as being "too hard" as Bond.

Collins is survived by his wife Michelle and three sons, Oliver, Elliot and Cameron.
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