Farewell ‘Mr Movies’

BY ADAM BLACKSHAW

Bill Collins OAM passed away on 20 June 2019. Passionate about cinema, Bill graced our television screens for over 50 years on all the major commercial networks and finally with Foxtel from 1995 until his retirement in 2018.

Golden Years

Many Australians would have fond memories of staying up late to enjoy Bill hosting the Bill Collins’ Golden Years of Hollywood and marvelling at his encyclopaedic knowledge of actors, screenwriters, directors and designers. As well as being informative, Bill’s intros were always entertaining, opinionated and fun:

More than 50 years a presenter

Originally an English school teacher, Bill brought his skills as an educator to Australian television audiences. He began presenting movies on television in 1963, as a producer and host of film appreciation segments on ABC’s Roundabout.

He later introduced movies on channels Nine (1967–74) and Seven (1975–79) and most famously for Channel Ten where he presented Bill Collins' Golden Years of Hollywood (1980–1995). 

He was an accomplished interviewer and his passion for movies – and movie stars – shone through when he met and spoke with them. Here he talks with Sigourney Weaver about the release of Aliens (James Cameron, USA, 1986) and then urges all true movie lovers to seek it out:

Bill became an Australian icon and was dubbed, ‘Mr Movies’ for his broad cinema knowledge. He was even mentioned in a song recorded in his honour by pop group Mental As Anything and his celebrity status also led to him having cameo roles in film and television, including Prisoner (1985) and Howling III: The Marsupials (1987).

Bill retired from television in 2018. The rich legacy of work he has left us is now preserved in the NFSA collection.