Bonar Colleano
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Bonar Colleano
Bonar Colleano
Bonarcolleano.jpg
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.

Biography

Early Life

Colleano was born Bonar Sullivan in New York City. He had childhood experiences with the Ringling Brothers Circus and in his family's famous circus. [1]

He moved to the United Kingdom when he was 12 so his family could appear at the London Palladium.[2] 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.[3]

Film Career

Colleano's first important role came with the popular wartime drama, The Way to the Stars (also known as Johnny in the Clouds, 1945), playing an American soldier.

He played American servicemen in Wanted for Murder (1946), A Matter of Life and Death (1946), and While the Sun Shines (1947).

Colleano played an Italian in One Night with You (1948), and was in Good-Time Girl (1948) and Sleeping Car to Trieste (1948). He worked regularly in radio, appearing in a revue Navy Mixture,[4] and had a lead part in Once a Jolly Swagman (1949).

Leading Roles

Colleano's reputation shot up when cast in the role of Stanley Kowalski in the original English stage production of A Streetcar Named Desire (1949) at the Aldwych Theatre, London, directed by Laurence Olivier and co-starring with Vivien Leigh.[5]

His film parts got better. Give Us This Day (1950) was set in the USA but shot in England. He was a romantic lead in Dance Hall (1950).

It led to lead roles in films starting with Pool of London (1951) and A Tale of Five Cities (1952).[6] He went to the US and starred in a Hollywood production, Stanley Kramer's Eight Iron Men (1952).

He went back to Britain to play the lead in a comedy with Diana Dors, Is Your Honeymoon Really Necessary? (1953) and was in a thriller, Escape by Night (1953).

Support Parts

Colleano had another Hollywood role, a support, in Flame and the Flesh (1954), shot in England and Italy.

He went back to support parts in British films with Time Is My Enemy (1954) and The Sea Shall Not Have Them (1955).

Colleano had good support roles in the oddball Shakespeare derivation Joe MacBeth (1955) and Stars in Your Eyes (1956).

Warwick Productions

Warwick Productions used him in Zarak (1956). They liked his work and kept him on for Interpol (1957), Fire Down Below (1957), No Time to Die (1958) and The Man Inside (1958). He was also in Death Over My Shoulder (1958).

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.[7] 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.

Death

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.[8] 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,[8] but eventually recovered.[8]

Legacy

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.

Filmography

Film
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
Television
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

References

  1. ^ "STARS OF TIGHTROPE". Cairns Post (13,867). Queensland, Australia. 13 August 1946. p. 4. Retrieved 2017 - via National Library of Australia. 
  2. ^ ""POOL OF LONDON"". Western Herald. New South Wales, Australia. 10 April 1953. p. 10. Retrieved 2017 - via National Library of Australia. 
  3. ^ Williams, Tony. "The Importance of Being Bonar". The November 3rd Club. Retrieved 2016. 
  4. ^ "No title". National Advocate. New South Wales, Australia. 18 September 1947. p. 5. Retrieved 2017 - via National Library of Australia. 
  5. ^ "A Streetcar Named Desire". The Sun (2430). New South Wales, Australia. 6 November 1949. p. 5. Retrieved 2017 - via National Library of Australia. 
  6. ^ "CIRCUS STAR IN FIRST FILM". Singleton Argus. New South Wales, Australia. 14 May 1951. p. 3. Retrieved 2017 - via National Library of Australia. 
  7. ^ "1958: Film stars raise cash for Colleano". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 2016. 
  8. ^ a b c "Bonar Colleano". Entertainment Calendar. Retrieved 2016. 

Citations

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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