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Michael Anthony Robbins
14 November 1930
Croydon, Surrey, England
|Died||11 December 1992 (aged 62)|
Caterham, Surrey, England
|Occupation||Actor and comedian|
Shirley Hal Dyer
Michael Robbins was born in Croydon, Surrey, to Percival W. Robbins (1899–1956) and Bertha May née Sindall (1900–1997), who outlived him. From 1939 to 1944 Robbins was a pupil at St Michael's College, a Catholic school for boys, in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. He then went on to work as a bank clerk and later became an actor after appearing in amateur dramatic performances also in Hitchin, where he and his family lived at the time. He took part in the 1951 Hitchin Pageant dressed as a gladiator.
Robbins made his television debut as the cockney soldier in Roll-on Bloomin' Death. Primarily a comedy actor, he is best remembered for the role of Arthur Rudge, the persistently sarcastic husband of Olive (Anna Karen), in the popular sitcom On the Buses (1969–73). Robbins and Karen provided the secondary comic storyline to Reg Varney's comedy capers at the bus depot. Robbins also appeared in the series film spin-offs, On the Buses, Mutiny on the Buses, and Holiday on the Buses.
His other comedy credits include non-recurring roles in Man About the House, Oh Brother!, The Good Life, One Foot in the Grave, The New Statesman, George and Mildred, Hi-de-Hi! and You Rang, M'Lord?. He appeared as a rather humorously portrayed police sergeant in the TV adaptation of Brendon Chase.
As well as these comic roles, he assumed various straight roles in some of the major British television shows of the 1960s and 1970s, including that of the hard-drinking old sea dog Harry Baxter in The Saint episode The People Importers. He made appearances in Minder, The Sweeney, Z-Cars, Return of the Saint, Murder Most English, Rumpole Of The Bailey, The Avengers, Dixon of Dock Green, The Bill and the 1982 Doctor Who story "The Visitation".
Robbins' film credits included The Whisperers, Up The Junction, Till Death Us Do Part, The Looking Glass War, Zeppelin and Blake Edwards' films The Pink Panther Strikes Again and Victor/Victoria. He also had an extensive career as a radio actor, including a role in the soap opera Waggoners' Walk.
In the mid-1970s he directed a film, How Are You?
Robbins was an indefatigable worker for charity. He was active in the Grand Order of Water Rats (being elected "Rat of the Year" in 1978) and the Catholic Stage Guild. In 1987 he received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal, a papal award, for his services. In one of his last television appearances, in A Little Bit of Heaven, he recalled his childhood visits to Norfolk and spoke of his faith and love of the Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham.
- Lunch Hour (1961) – Harris
- A Prize of Arms (1962) – Orford
- What a Crazy World (1963) – Percy
- Act of Murder (1964) – Van Driver
- The Bargee (1964) – Bargee (uncredited)
- Rattle of a Simple Man (1964) – George – Organiser
- Gideon's Way (1965) – George
- The Whisperers (1967) – Mr. Noonan
- Up the Junction (1968) – Figgins
- Till Death Us Do Part (1968) – Pub Landlord (Fred)
- Crossplot (1969) – Garage attendant
- The Looking Glass War (1970) - Truck Driver
- All the Way Up (1970) – Taxi Driver
- Zeppelin (1971) – Cockney Sergeant
- Villain (1971) – Barzun
- On the Buses (1971) – Arthur Rudge, Stan's brother-in-law
- Mutiny on the Buses (1972) – Arthur Rudge, Stan's brother-in-law
- That's Your Funeral (1972) – 2nd Funeral Director
- No Sex Please, We're British (1973) – Car Driver
- Holiday on the Buses (1973) – Arthur Rudge, Stan's brother-in-law
- Man About the House (1974) – Second Doorman
- The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) – Ainsley Jarvis
- The Saint and the Brave Goose (1979) – Beeky
- The Great Muppet Caper (1981) – Security Guard
- Victor/Victoria (1982) – Manager of Victoria's Hotel
- Lost In London (1985) – Bill
- Just Ask for Diamond (1988) – The Fat Man
- A Chance of Thunder (1961) – Mills
- Deadline Midnight (1961) – First Man
- On the Buses (1969–1972) – Arthur Rudge
- The Sweeney, "Big Brother" (1974) – Kevin Lee
- The Good Life “Whose Fleas Are These?” (1976) - Mr Bulstrode
- George and Mildred (1979) – Alf
- Minder (1980) - Jack McQueen
- Doctor Who (1982) – Richard Mace
- Dempsey and Makepeace (1986) -
- Rumpole of the Bailey (1987) – Cyril Timson
- Strong Poison (1987) – Bill Rumm
- Hi-de-Hi! (1988) – Roger
- EastEnders (1989) – Councillor
- The Winjin' Pom (1991) – The Winjin' Pom
- One Foot in the Grave – "The Man in the Long Black Coat" (1991) – Mr Killick
- ”The Bill” (1991)- Tobin
- In Sickness and in Health (1992) – Rail worker
- "Roll on Bloomin' Death (1961)". BFI.
- "Obituary: Michael Robbins". The Independent. 14 December 1992.
- "Michael Robbins". BFI.
- "Michael Robbins". www.aveleyman.com.
- "Brendon Chase (1980)". BFI.
- "The Saint - S6 - Episode 13: The People Importers". Radio Times.
- "BBC - Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide - The Visitation - Details". www.bbc.co.uk.
- "Waggoners' Walk NW". 8 September 1969. p. 28 – via BBC Genome.
- "EastEnders". 15 June 1989. p. 44 – via BBC Genome.
- Telegraph, Group Limited (11 July 1998). The Daily Telegraph Third Book of Obituaries: Entertainers. Pan. ISBN 9780330367752 – via Google Books.
- Pocklington, Rebecca (13 August 2015). "On The Buses actor Stephen Lewis dies aged 88". mirror.
- The Daily Telegraph Third Book of Obituaries (Entertainers) – Edited by Hugh Massingberd