I am very sad to hear today that the wonderfully gifted actor and perfect gentleman, George Cole has died. George Edward Cole OBE had career that spanned more than 70 years in show business. George lived a very full life that started when he was given up for adoption at just ten days old, as a youth he worked himself up from working as a butcher boy aged 10....to finally becoming one of one of our most loved actors... on the cinema screen and popular TV.
At 15 he was cast in the film Cottage to Let (1941) where he starred opposite Scottish actor Alastair Sim. Sim liked Cole, and agreed with his family to take in Cole and his adoptive mother to their home. Acting as his mentor, Sim helped Cole lose his Cockney accent and he stayed with the Sim family until he was 27. Cole later attributed his career success to Sim, with whom he appeared in a total of 11 films. Cole really became familiar to audiences in British comedy films in the 1950s, when appeared with Sim in Scrooge (as the young Scrooge) in 1951.
George Cole as the loveable rogue 'Flash Harry' and Alistair Sim as Headmistress in The Belles of St Trinian's (1954)
But for many he will be remembered "Flash Harry" in the St Trinian's films (two of which also star Sim) and as the crooked used-car dealer Arthur Daley in the Thames Television series Minder, in which he played from 1979 until the show's conclusion in 1994.
We remember George here today also for his role as Roger Morton with Peter Cushing in Hammer films, 'The Vampire Lovers', starring also Ingrid Pitt. I have always thought it was an odd piece of casting, but was glad to see him there, none the less. God Bless, George. Sleep Well.