BBC Home
Explore the BBC
15 December  
Search ON THIS DAY by date
Go back one day Go forward one day  
Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
About This Site | Text Only
1958: Film stars raise cash for Colleano
Several British stars of the silver screen have taken part in a fund-raising match for the family of American actor Bonar Colleano.

The actor was killed in a car crash at Birkenhead, Liverpool, in August. He left a wife, actress Susan Shaw, and three-year-old son Mark.

He also left considerable debts. In a bankruptcy hearing in May, the court heard he owed an estimated 8,000 to the Inland Revenue for income tax and had assets of only 367.

The football match - played at Hayes Stadium in Middlesex - included several big names from the worlds of film and entertainment with whom he had co-starred in a variety of productions.

Adoring fans

Singer Alma Cogan kicked off the game, which also included actors like James Mason, Sid James, Stanley Baker and Alfie Bass.

A big crowd of fans turned out to watch - many of them tried to get autographs from the players as they left the pitch.

The match aimed to raise funds for Bonar Colleano's son, Mark, who is to be cared for in London by his grandmother Rubye Colleano.

She came to Britain with the rest of the family from the United States in 1936.

They were in the circus business; Bonar Colleano's uncle and namesake was a trapeze artist while his mother, Rubye, was a contortionist. Bonar Colleano joined their acrobatic act from the age of five.

He went on to become an actor best known for playing wisecracking Yanks in British-made films. His good looks ensured him a loyal following among female film-goers.

Bankruptcy court

His first important role was in the popular wartime drama, Way to the Stars, also known as Johnny in the Clouds, and later he starred in an American production, Stanley Kramer's Eight Iron Men

He also appeared on stage in the role of Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire, at the Aldwych Theatre, London.

He was married first to actress Tamera Lees in 1946. The couple were divorced in 1951 and he went on to marry actress Susan Shaw in 1954.

On 18 August 1958 he crashed his sports car driving back from Liverpool's New Shakespeare Theatre where he had been appearing in 'Will success spoil Rock Hunter?'

The car crashed through a fence onto an embankment after emerging from the Mersey Tunnel.

His passenger, fellow actor and friend Michael Balfour, required 98 stitches but was released in time to attend his funeral.

 E-mail this story to a friend

Football match, player in dark shirt has the ball
The film stars, wearing dark shirts, went on the attack and James Mason scored

In Context
Bonar Colleano's son, Mark, was brought up in London by his paternal grandmother, Rubye Colleano, who encouraged him to follow his father's footsteps into acting.

His first role, as a child star, was playing an Italian boy opposite Rock Hudson in Hornet's Nest.

He went on to star in several other films, including the Lion of the Desert, in 1981, and also made appearances in TV shows, such as The Professionals and Only Fools and Horses.

His mother Susan Shaw never recovered from her husband's death. After retiring from the screen in the early 1960s, she developed a drink problem and died aged 49 in 1978.

Stories From 15 Dec

Search ON THIS DAY by date
Go back one day Go forward one day  

^^ back to top
Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
©MMVIII | News Sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy