Peter Collinson (film director)

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Peter Collinson
Peter Collinson (film director).jpg
Born (1936-04-01)1 April 1936
Lincolnshire, United Kingdom
Died 16 December 1980(1980-12-16) (aged 44)
Los Angeles, United States
Years active 1967–1980

Peter Collinson (1 April 1936 – 16 December 1980) was a British film director probably best remembered for directing The Italian Job (1969).

Early life[edit]

Peter Collinson was born in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire in 1936. His parents, an actress and a musician, separated when he was two years old; he was raised by his grandparents. From ages eight to 14 he attended the Actor's Orphanage in Chertsey, Surrey where he had the chance to write and act in many plays. Noël Coward, who was president of the orphanage at the time, became his godfather and helped him to obtain jobs in the entertainment industry, which was dramatized in the radio play Mr Bridger's Orphan by Marcy Kahan in 2013.[1]. Collinson later directed Coward in his best-known film, The Italian Job (1969)

In 1954 he was called up for national service and served two years in Malaya during the Malayan Emergency as a private with the Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey).


His early television work included time as a floor manager for the BBC and directing for ATV at Elstree studios where he met the producer Michael Klinger who would offer him the director role on the film, The Penthouse (1967), Collinson's first film. He also worked with Telefís Éireann, the Republic of Ireland's national TV station, and in 1963 he won a Jacob's Award for his production, The Bomb.[2] His film Tomorrow Never Comes (1978) was entered into the 11th Moscow International Film Festival.[3]

Personal life[edit]

He emigrated with his wife Hazel and family from the UK to the United States in the mid-1970s. He directed several action films shot in Turkey, Spain, South Africa, Israel, Canada and Australia.

Although Collinson was lauded as a talented director, he was also known as a rather sadistic authoritarian towards his actors. He directed William Holden and Rick Schroder in the movie The Earthling (1980) and was said to have driven the young child actor to tears on numerous occasions[citation needed]. It was during filming that Collinson discovered he was terminally ill, and he died from lung cancer in Los Angeles.



  1. ^ BBC – Afternoon Play – Mr Bridger's Orphan
  2. ^ "Presentation of television awards and citations", The Irish Times, 4 December 1963
  3. ^ "11th Moscow International Film Festival (1979)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 3 April 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2013. 

Other sources[edit]

External links[edit]