• 4 December 1933
  •  Beckenham, Kent, England, UK

James Cossins


The role which best epitomised James Cossins was the fussy, repressed Brown in Villain (1971). He began movie acting in the mid '60s and featured in such films as Richard Lester's How I Won the War (1967), Hammer's The Lost Continent (1968), the Jack Wild vehicle S.W.A.L.K. (1971) and the aforementioned cult classic Villain (1971) with Richard Burton. He was also particular effective as a driving test examiner in the comedy thriller Otley (1969) with Tom Courtenay. His contribution was usually limited to no more than a few minutes of screentime but he was always effective. On television he was quite prolific putting in appearances in, to name just a few, The Avengers (1961), Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em (1973), Bless This House (1971), Bergerac (1981), Minder (1979) and perhaps most memorably, Fawlty Towers (1975). He was a specialist in officious, blustering characters. In 1974 he joined a number of British character actors to have featured in a Bond movie, playing Colthorpe in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974). It was five years before he returned to cinema screens in The Great Train Robbery (1979). After appearing as Lord Carnaryon in Sphinx (1981) he made his last big film in 1982, Gandhi (1982), though he was far down the cast list. Two more films of little note were to follow, Grand Larceny (1987) and Immaculate Conception (1992) before his final appearance in the TV movie Unnatural Causes (1993) in 1993. He died in 1997.