• 7 May 1907
  •  Dunedin, New Zealand

Colin Tapley


Born in 1909 in Dunedin, New Zealand. Brown hair, Blue eyes. In 1930 came to England joined Royal Air Force and took part in Byrd expedition. In 1933 took part in Paramount's Search for Beauty and was selected with Joyce Neilson to be the New Zealand winners out of 30 winners worldwide. Went to Hollywood made 'The Search For Beauty' film and was awarded a bit player contract. He shared a flat with Eldred Tidbury (later Donald Gray) who was to be his best friend until Gray's death in 1978. Tidbury had pipped Tapley to the $1000 bonus for best acting performance. He was rejected for lead in it 'Ain't No Sin' with Mae West because of his upper class English accent. Tidbury was rejected for same reason. He appeared in Double Door (1934), Murder at the Vanities (1934), Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935) during which he had to put on East indian disguise and play an army spy. In the pioneering technicolor film Becky Sharpe (1935) he looked the part in a splendid military uniform. Like Gray he was to get a reputation as being attractive to ladies. Up until 1940 he appeared in 31 films credited and countless more uncredited mostly for Paramount but in 1939 he did some work for MGM. In 1937 he went on location to the Malayan jungle to appear in 'Booloo (1938) in the lead. he was only white man in the cast, an animal adventure picture. He commented the rain was horrendous and the monkeys screaming was most unpleasant. In 1940 unable to return to England he went to Ottawa Canada and enlisted in the Royal Canadian Airforce in the company of another actor Bert Coote. With his experience he was offered an Instructor and was transfered to England later in the War becoming an RAF controller. He was awarded membership of the Caterpillar club after bailing out of an ailing aircraft. In those days the Parachute manufacturer awarded anyone whose life was saved a small jewellery caterpillar. After demobilisation he returned to New zealand briefly, his first time since 1933. He intended to start a launch service in Wanaka and bring his wife and children out there. However he tired of this and went to England to take up his film career again. With the post-war recession in the British film Industry it would be 1949 before he made another film 'Samson and Delilah'. with his upper class accent he was the obvious choice for war films none more so than in 'The Dambusters (1954) with Michael Redgrave and Richard Todd. he played a scientist who developed Barnes Wallis's weapon. Between 1954 and 1958 he worked with his friend Donald Gray in the Danziger TV series 'The Vise' as Inspector Parker. Unlike Gray he did still get film work after the series ended his last film being Frauline Doktor in 1969. His acting career did not end completely until 1983 at the age of 74. He retired to his English Cotswold country cottage in Coates, Gloucestershire, England. He died on the 1st of December 1995 aged 86 and his funeral was held in Gloucester. He was survived by his wife, son and a step daughter.


Movie Name Release Date
Το μαύρο δωμάτιο – The Black Room (1935) January 1, 1970