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24 September 1939
|Died||4 August 1989 (aged 49)|
He was born Roger Middleton in Sheffield, three weeks after Britain and France declared war on Germany upon the outbreak of the Second World War, and studied acting at the Central School of Speech and Drama. He took his stage name from that of an earlier film actor called Maurice Colbourne, (24 September 1894–22 September 1965), who shared the same birthday (in a different year) as his. In 1972, he co-founded, together with Michael Irving and Guy Sprung, the Half Moon Theatre near Aldgate, east London. This was a successful, radical theatre company, performing initially in an 80-seat disused synagogue in Half Moon Passage, E1. In 1985, the company moved to a converted chapel in Mile End Road, near Stepney Green.
He performed in many productions at Half Moon Theatre, including In the Jungle of the Cities, Will Wat, If Not, What Will?, Heroes of the Iceberg Hotel, Sawdust Caesar, Dan Dare and Chaste Maid in Cheapside. He also directed several productions, including Silver Tassie, Alkestis, The Shoemakers and Pig Bank. He returned in 1979 to perform in Guys and Dolls.
He first became well-known when he played the lead in a BBC drama series, Gangsters, from 1975–78, and afterwards appeared regularly on screen. He played Charles Marston, the love interest of Lady Fogarty in the seventh series of The Onedin Line screened from 22 July to 23 September 1979. He played a mercenary in an episode of the Return of the Saint called "Duel in Venice".
He twice appeared in the science fiction series Doctor Who as the character Lytton in Resurrection of the Daleks (1984) and Attack of the Cybermen (1985). He also appeared in the television miniseries adaptation of John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids (1981), for which he played the character Jack Coker.
He is probably best-remembered as Tom Howard in the BBC's series Howards' Way, which he played from 1985 to 1989, when he died suddenly aged 49 from a heart attack while renovating a holiday home in Dinan, Brittany, France.
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