Bonar Colleano
Bonar Colleano
Born (1924-03-14)14 March 1924
New York City, New York, US
Died 18 August 1958(1958-08-18) (aged 34)
Birkenhead, Cheshire, England, UK
Cause of death car crash
Occupation Actor
Years active 1944 - 1958
Tamara Lees (1946 - 1951)
Susan Shaw (1954 - 1958, his death)
Children 2

Bonar Colleano (14 March 1924 - 18 August 1958) was an American-born British stage and film actor.

Early life

Colleano was born Bonar Sullivan in New York City. Following childhood experiences with the Ringling Brothers Circus and in his family's famous circus, he entered films in 1944. Moving to the United Kingdom, he spent several years performing in music halls. When war broke out in 1939, he began entertaining troops in Britain and was not called up for either nation's military forces.[1]


His first important role came with the popular wartime drama, The Way to the Stars (also known as Johnny in the Clouds, 1945) and later he starred in a Hollywood production, Stanley Kramer's Eight Iron Men (1952). His later screen roles included Lenny, in the oddball Shakespeare derivation Joe MacBeth (1955).

Colleano's stage work included the role of Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire at the Aldwych Theatre, London, directed by Laurence Olivier and co-starring with Vivien Leigh.

In the lyrics of Ian Dury and the Blockheads' 1979 song "Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3", Colleano was included in the list of reasons to be cheerful.

Personal life

He was from a well known Australian circus family and was a nephew of Con Colleano, the first tightrope walker to perform a forward somersault on the wire. In 1946, he married actress Tamara Lees, but the couple divorced in 1951. His second wife was actress Susan Shaw, who descended into alcoholism after his death. Their son Mark Colleano is also an actor.[2] In 1950, while living in the U.K., he fathered future Average White Band drummer, Robbie McIntosh. Colleano was not married to McIntosh's mother.


Colleano died in 1958 at the age of 34, when he crashed his sports car (a Jaguar XK140) in Birkenhead shortly after leaving the Queensway Tunnel.[3] He was driving back from Liverpool's New Shakespeare Theatre, where he had been appearing in a stage production of Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?. His passenger, fellow actor and friend Michael Balfour, requiring 98 stitches,[3] but eventually recovered.[3]


Year Film Role Other notes
1945 The Way to the Stars Joe Friselli known as Johnny in the Clouds in the USA
1946 Wanted for Murder Cpl. Nick Mappolo
A Matter of Life and Death An American Pilot Alternative title: Stairway to Heaven
1947 While the Sun Shines Joe Mulvaney
1948 Merry-Go-Round
One Night With You Piero Santellini
Good-Time Girl Micky Malone
Sleeping Car to Trieste Sergeant West
1949 Maniacs on Wheels Tommy Possey Alternative title: Once A Jolly Swagman
Give Us This Day Julio
1950 Dance Hall Alec
1951 Pool of London Dan MacDonald
A Tale of Five Cities Bob Mitchell Alternative title: A Tale of Five Women
1952 Eight Iron Men Pvt. Collucci
1953 Is Your Honeymoon Really Necessary? Cmdr. Laurie Vining
Escape By Night Tom Buchan
1954 Flame and the Flesh Ciccio
Time Is My Enemy Harry Bond
The Sea Shall Not Have Them Sgt. Kirby
1955 Joe MacBeth Lennie
1956 Stars in Your Eyes David Laws
Zarak Biri
1957 Pickup Alley Amalio
Fire Down Below Lt. Sellars
1958 Them Nice Americans Joe
Death Over My Shoulder Joe Longo
No Time to Die The Polish POW Also known as Tank Force
The Man Inside Martin Lomer
Year Title Role Notes
1946 In the Zone Davis TV Film
1957 ITV Television Playhouse Sam Pickens Episode: The Confidence Man
1958 East End, West End 1 episode
Doomsday for Dyson Jackston TV Film


  1. ^ Williams, Tony. "The Importance of Being Bonar". The November 3rd Club. Retrieved 2016. 
  2. ^ "1958: Film stars raise cash for Colleano". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c "Bonar Colleano". Entertainment Calendar. Retrieved 2016. 


External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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