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|Born||Michael Anthony Robbins
14 November 1930
|Died||11 December 1992
Caterham, Surrey, England
Cause of death
|Spouse(s)||Hal Dyer (?–1992; his death)|
Born in London, Robbins was a bank clerk who became an actor after appearing in amateur dramatic performances in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, where he and his family lived at the time. Robbins made his television debut as the cockney soldier in Roll-on Bloomin' Death. Primarily a comedy actor, he is best remembered for the role of Arthur Rudge, the persistently sarcastic husband of Olive (Anna Karen), in the popular sitcom On the Buses (1969–73). Robbins and Karen provided the secondary comic storyline to Reg Varney's comedy capers at the bus depot. Robbins also appeared in the series film spin-offs, On the Buses, Mutiny on the Buses, and Holiday on the Buses. His other comedy credits include non-recurring roles in Man About the House, The Good Life, One Foot in the Grave, The New Statesman, George and Mildred, Hi-De-Hi, The Pink Panther Strikes Again and You Rang, M'Lord?. He appeared as a rather humorously portrayed police sergeant in the TV adaptation of Brendon Chase.
As well as these comic roles, he assumed various straight roles in some of the major British television shows of the 1960s and 1970s: including Minder, The Sweeney, Z-Cars, Return of the Saint, Murder Most English, The Avengers, Dixon of Dock Green and the 1982 Doctor Who story The Visitation.
Robbins was an indefatigable worker for charity. He was active in the Grand Order of Water Rats (being elected 'Rat of the Year' in 1978) and the Catholic Stage Guild; and received a Papal Award for his services in 1987. In one of his last television appearances, in A Little Bit of Heaven Robbins recalled his childhood visits to Norfolk and spoke of his faith and love of the Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham.
In the mid-1970s he also directed a film: How Are You?.
Robbins was married to actress Hal Dyer until he died from cancer in Caterham, Surrey, aged 62. Dyer died in 2011 from a brain haemorrhage. Robbins is survived by his two children, Ben and Sarah, and his four grandchildren, Daniel, Max, Lucy and Joe.
- Lunch Hour (1961)
- A Prize of Arms (1962)
- What a Crazy World (1963)
- Act of Murder (1964)
- The Bargee (1964)
- Rattle of a Simple Man (1964)
- Dead Man's Chest (1965)
- Up the Junction (1968)
- Till Death Us Do Part (1969) as Pub Landlord
- On the Buses (1971)
- Mutiny on the Buses (1972)
- No Sex Please, We're British (1973)
- Holiday on the Buses (1973)
- Man About the House (1974) as TV Studio Security Guard
- "The Pink Panther Strikes Again" (1976)
- The Great Muppet Caper (1981)
- One Foot in the Grave (1991)
- The Daily Telegraph Third Book of Obituaries (Entertainers) – Edited by Hugh Massingberd