Birthday: 1907-05-07 · Known For: Acting
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Colin Edward Livingstone Tapley (7 May 1909 – 1 December 1995) was a New Zealand actor in both American and British films. Born in New Zealand, he served in the Royal Air Force and an expedition to Antarctica before winning a Paramount Pictures talent contest and moving to Hollywood. He acted in a number of films before moving to Britain during the Second World War as a flight controller with the Royal Canadian Air Force. He returned briefly to New Zealand before returning once again to Britain to renew his acting career. His most famous role is as William Glanville in The Dam Busters (1955), but he spent much of his later career typecast as a police inspector, a role he played in several films and TV series before retiring to Gloucestershire.
During his time in England while in the RAF, Tapley met Patricia "Patsy" Lyon, the widowed daughter of Major-General Sir Percival Otway and Lady Hambro of the Hambro banking dynasty. Despite being from one of England's most prestigious aristocratic-banking families, with close family ties to the Royal family, they opted to marry quietly as London lay in ruins after "the Blitz". Her parents, twin brother, Everard Hambro and other family members were present at the St Martin-in-the-Fields wedding in August 1943. Tapley and Patsy lived in New Zealand and Hollywood before settling down in Coates, Gloucestershire. Tapley lived in New Romney, Kent working for the first time in a regular job not as a Thespian. He was employed by the CEGB in 1964 as a meter reader in the control room at Dungeness 'A' nuclear power station. On night shifts he would regale his fellow workers with tales of Hollywood actors, their life and loves. He remained in Coates until his death in December 1995, aged 86. Tapley was buried in Wanaka, New Zealand, next to his first son Martin, who had died at the age of 3 of leukaemia in 1947. Patsy remained at their house in Coates until her death on 18 January 2000 survived by their second son Nigel Tapley, two granddaughters, and stepdaughter, Charlotte Ann Lyon, wife of the late shipping mogul Sir Kerry St. Johnston.
Tapley was born on 7 May 1909 at Dunedin, New Zealand, the son of Harold Livingstone Tapley, later mayor of Dunedin and MP for Dunedin North, and Jean Brodie Tapley (née Burt). He was educated at Christ's College, Christchurch from 1918 to 1926, and took part in the first of Richard Byrd's expeditions to Antarctica before moving to the United Kingdom and joining the Royal Air Force.
Movies & TV Series
Three Steps to the Gallows
A U.S. sailor (Scott Brady) docks in London and in three days tries to save his brother from the gallows.
The Steel Key
An adventurer investigates the theft of a formula for hardened steel, assisted by his girlfriend.
Noose for a Lady
An amateur detective races against time to clear the name of his cousin, who is accused of murdering her husband. It is based on the novel Whispering Woman by Gerald Verner.
Picking a pocket leads to blackmail and murder for a petty criminal (Sidney Tafler) in London.
Wings of Danger
A former pilot suffering from blackouts discovers that a fellow flyer is suspected of being mixed up with a web of smugglers. While searching for his missing buddy, he unwittingly becomes entangled i...
North West Mounted Police
Texas Ranger Dusty Rivers ("Isn't that a contradiction in terms?", another character asks him) travels to Canada in the 1880s in search of Jacques Corbeau, who is wanted for murder. He wanders into th...
Phoebe Titus is a tough, swaggering pioneer woman, but her ways become decidedly more feminine when she falls for California bound Peter Muncie. But Peter won't be distracted from his journey and Phoe...
White hunters in a Malayan jungle stalk a white tiger and bait their trap with a native girl. Captain Rogers to the rescue but falls for the Colonel's daughter.
Storm Over Bengal
This being a Republic picture, it should come as no surprise that Storm Over Bengal was filmed in its entirety in the San Fernando Valley. Within its concise 65 minutes, the film manages to accommodat...
If I Were King
King Louis XI masquerades as a commoner in Paris, seeking out the treachery he is sure lurks in his kingdom. At a local tavern, he overhears the brash poet François Villon extolling why he would be a ...
King of Gamblers
A fast moving and low budget crime drama seasoned with mystery & comedy.
Maid of Salem
When a young woman named Barbara Clarke has an affair with adventurer Roger Coverman, it causes a scandal in the Puritanical town of Salem, Massachusetts. After a meddling girl arouses their suspicion...
The Crime Nobody Saw
Three playwrights (Lew Ayres, Eugene Pallette, Benny Baker) develop a plot around a drunk who gets killed in their apartment.
Bulldog Drummond Escapes
Drummond manages to save a woman from jumping in front of his car but she runs away with his car. He traces her and she asks him to help her out of a dangerous situation.
Night of Mystery
One of a series of movies based on the character Philo Vance
Early to Bed
Chester Beatty and Tessie Weeks have been engaged for 5 years and going together for 15 years before that. Chester is reluctant to burden Tessie with marriage because of his secret problem. He is a sl...
Thank You, Jeeves!
Jeeves tries to keep his young master out of trouble.
The Return of Sophie Lang
In order to give up her life of crime and go straight, renowned jewel thief Sophie Lang fakes her own death and retires to London. She soon finds a job as a companion to a wealthy old lady who is also...
The Preview Murder Mystery
The star of "Song of the Toreador" receives threatening messages that he will not survive the preview screening of the film. The studio publicist works with the Director, the Producer and the police,...
Too Many Parents
A story of the boys who are sent to military school in order to get them out of the way of their too-busy-to-bother parents or guardians. Lonely young Philip Stewart (George Ernest)writes himself lett...
The Black Room
In a 16th-century European town, the ruling family has been given a prophecy that, should there ever be twin boys born, the younger will murder the older; so is dismayed when twins are born to the pop...
The Lives of a Bengal Lancer
In the Northwest Frontier of India, the 41st Bengal Lancers leaded by the harsh Colonel Tom Stone are having trouble with the rebellious leader Mohammed Khan. After two casualties, the experienced but...
The Last Outpost
During WW1, the destinies of British officers Michael Andrews and John Stevenson seem intertwined on the battle front as much as on a more personal level.
Murder at the Vanities
Shortly before the curtain goes up the first time at the latest performance of Earl Carroll's Vanities, someone is attempting to injure the leading lady Ann Ware, who wants to marry leading man Eric L...
Based on a 1933 stage production billed as “The Play That Made Broadway Gasp,” it features an over-the-top performance by Mary Morris (repeating her stage role) as a domineering money-bags whose suppr...
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