‘Hearts are broken’: Aussie TV legend dies

 

Bill Collins, Australia's legendary film reviewer, TV presenter and celebrity interviewer known as "Mr Movies" has died aged 84.

The renowned presenter of Foxtel's Golden Years of Hollywood died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday.

Foxtel issued a tribute to the film critic and film historian, radio and television presenter, journalist, author and lecturer.

"Bill was 84 and lived a life filled with love and devotion for and from his family," the statement read.

"It was also filled with passion for movies and Hollywood and all the adventures and opportunities associated with his 55 year career in the entertainment industry.

"Bill introduced generations of Australians to the world of movies.

"His passion for filmmaking, his eye for detail and his knowledge of the work of the great screen talents, added with his natural charisma and spirited presentations, turned watching a movie presented by Bill into an 'event'."

Born in 1934 a policeman's son from the southern Sydney suburb of Sutherland, Collins left high school to study for a teaching degree.

TV’s Mr Movies, Bill Collins, has died aged 84 peacefully in his sleep.
TV’s Mr Movies, Bill Collins, has died aged 84 peacefully in his sleep.

He taught English, but his love of cinema led him to start writing film reviews in the early 1960s which led to a spot on the ABC as a film presenter.

He soon moved to Channel 9, where he worked from 1969 to 1974, swapping to Channel 7 and then in 1980 to the Ten Network to present his national movie show.

Collins, whose favourite film was the 1940 classic Gone With The Wind, turned his passion for the "golden age of Hollywood" into his career.

His enthusiasm and forensic knowledge of Hollywood led him to meeting and interviewing some of America's greatest stars, producers and directors.

From 1995, the Golden Age of Hollywood on Foxtel treated viewers to movie reviews, biographies of the actors, a rundown of plots, techniques and special effects, as well as Collins' insider knowledge and anecdotes from his celebrity interviews.

The legendary show ran until Collins' retirement, aged 83, just eight months ago.

With his wife of 36 years Joan in the South Coast NSW town of Berry, Collins lived in a house packed with memorabilia from his lifetime obsession with Hollywood.

Joan Collins issued a statement today, saying, "Our hearts are broken by the loss of our dear Bill - he will never be forgotten.

Bill Collins with his beloved wife Joan arrive on the TV Week Logies Red Carpet in 2009.
Bill Collins with his beloved wife Joan arrive on the TV Week Logies Red Carpet in 2009.

"How fortunate we were to have him in our lives. On behalf of Bill's family and myself, I would like to thank the public for the great support given to Bill over the years," she said.

"Bill's love of film was encouraged by you, his audience, and his love of sharing his passion, which increased over the five decades that he presented on every Australian television.

"Bill was always thrilled when he realised the joy and happiness he gave to his viewers. He never took them for granted, always wanting to please.

"Darling Bill you will be loved and missed always."

Foxtel's executive director of television Brian Walsh said: "Australia has lost an icon of the television industry, a true legend."

Collins was a university lecturer on film and cinematography, and released a book of his reviews, Bill Collins Presents The Golden Years of Hollywood in 1987.

In the same year, he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his services to film and television.

In 2009, Collins was inducted into the Logies Hall of Fame.

His family will bury him privately over coming days.

candace.sutton@news.com.au

 

 

TV personality Bill Collins and actor Debbie Reynolds on 'Bill Collins Presents: An Audience with Debbie Reynolds'.
TV personality Bill Collins and actor Debbie Reynolds on 'Bill Collins Presents: An Audience with Debbie Reynolds'.
Mr Movies Bill Collins with actor Cyd Charisse at a 2007 dinner to celebrate his 30 years as a film presenter.
Mr Movies Bill Collins with actor Cyd Charisse at a 2007 dinner to celebrate his 30 years as a film presenter.

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