15 April 1926|
Wigan, Lancashire, England
|Died||20 June 2009
Wigan, Greater Manchester, England
Colin Bean (15 April 1926 – 20 June 2009) was an English actor best known for his role as Private Sponge in the Second World War sitcom Dad's Army from 1968 to 1977, appearing in 76 of Dad’s Army’s 80 episodes.
Born in Wigan, Lancashire, Bean's father played football for local side Wigan Borough, and he attended Wigan Grammar School. Bean's first appearance had been as a shepherd in a school play, and much against paternal intentions, he took up acting professionally until being called up for national service. He served for four years, spending some time in Japan, and taking the opportunity to continue his acting by joining the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF). After graduating from drama school in 1952, he joined the Sheffield Rep as assistant stage manager; regular theatre work followed.
His work in Dad's Army came as a result of working at Watford Rep in 1962 under series co-writer Jimmy Perry as the company's actor/manager, in addition to almost 20 years of playing a pantomime dame. His TV appearances were varied, including Z-Cars, The Gnomes of Dulwich, The Liver Birds, 13 episodes of Michael Bentine Time, Are You Being Served?, and the penultimate episode of Hi-de-Hi! (1988).
Due to his arthritis, in his later years he concentrated on his radio work. He wrote his autobiography, Who Do You Think You Are Kidding!, which was published in 1998 and went into two editions.
Though using a wheelchair in his latter years, he continued to make sporadic appearances on stage in the North West of England discussing his long acting career. He was also a regular at Dad's Army reunions. He continued to live in the Scholes area of his native Wigan until his death. He died aged 83, in Wigan Infirmary, on 20 June 2009.
- "Colin Bean: Actor best known for playing Private Sponge in ‘Dad's Army'". The Independent (London). 29 June 2009. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
- "Dad's Army actor Colin Bean dies, 82". wigantoday.net. 2009-06-22. Retrieved 2009-06-22.
- "OtherCharacters". Dadsarmy.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
- Pearce, James. "Colin Bean : Obituary - ThisIsAnnouncements". Lastingtribute.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
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