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Colleano, Bonar (1923-1958)


Main image of Colleano, Bonar (1923-1958)

Bonar Colleano (born Bonar Sullivan in New York City on March 14 1923) was a charismatic American-born actor who went to Britain when he was 12. After experience from childhood with the Ringling Brothers' Circus and in his family's famous circus and music hall act, he entered films in 1944, and enlivened nearly thirty with his wise-cracking, dame-stalking persona.

He is irresistibly good-humoured as gum-chewing Friselli in The Way to the Stars (d. Anthony Asquith, 1945), one of the heroine's international suitors in While the Sun Shines (d. Asquith, 1947) and a womanising sergeant in Sleeping Car to Trieste (d. John Paddy Carstairs, 1948), more sinister as a deserter in Good Time Girl (d. David Macdonald, 1947).

He was the archetypal brash GI ('overpaid, over-sexed and over here') in '40s films, but kept working, though in less rewarding material, until his untimely death in a car accident. His second wife was actress Susan Shaw, who declined into alcoholism after his death. Stage work included Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire (1949) with Vivien Leigh.

Brian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of British Film

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Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Dance Hall (1950)Dance Hall (1950)

Low-key drama about factory workers and their evening escapades

Thumbnail image of Good-Time Girl (1948)Good-Time Girl (1948)

Gainsborough melodrama about a girl's descent into ruin

Thumbnail image of Is Your Honeymoon Really Necessary (1953)Is Your Honeymoon Really Necessary (1953)

Diana Dors stars in this frothy farce about a marital mix-up

Thumbnail image of Matter of Life and Death, A (1946)Matter of Life and Death, A (1946)

Romance fantasy bridging the gap between two worlds

Thumbnail image of Pool of London (1950)Pool of London (1950)

Two sailors on leave are caught up in a diamond smuggling racket

Thumbnail image of Way to the Stars, The (1945)Way to the Stars, The (1945)

Deceptively low-key drama about RAF pilots in World War II

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