He earned his nickname ‘Mr Movies’ as one of the country’s best known movie reviewers, but Australia was rocked on Friday as it emerged that Bill Collins had passed away.
The television star, known as the presenter of Foxtel’s Golden Years of Hollywood, died at the age of 84, with reports confirming he had slipped away peacefully in his sleep on Thursday.
His wife Joan Collins, who was married to Bill for 36 years, released an emotional statement on Friday confirming the sad news, which was released by TV Blackbox.
“Our hearts are broken by the loss of our dear Bill – he will never be forgotten,” she said. “How fortunate we were to have him in our lives. On behalf of Bill’s family and myself, I would like to thank the public for the great support given to Bill over the years.
“Bill’s love of film was encouraged by you, his audience, and his love of sharing his passion, which increased over the five decades that he presented on every Australian television. Bill was always thrilled when he realised the joy and happiness he gave to his viewers. He never took them for granted, always wanting to please.
“Darling Bill you will be loved and missed always.”
Collins, who is one of Australia’s most prolific film critics and experts, made his television debut on the ABC program Roundabout in 1963 and went on to work for multiple channels.
Tributes also poured in for the star online, with Studio 10’s Angela Bishop writing: “Legendary ‘Mr Movies’ Bill Collins has died at the age of 84.He presented his ‘Golden Years of Hollywood’ on Network 10 throughout the 80s and early 90s. His wife Joan said ‘Bill’s love of film was encouraged by you, his audience, and his love of sharing his passion’.”
Legendary “Mr Movies” Bill Collins has died at the age of 84.He presented his “Golden Years of Hollywood” on Network 10 throughout the 80s and early 90s. His wife Joan said “Bill’s love of film was encouraged by you, his audience, and his love of sharing his passion.”#BillCollins
— Angela Bishop (@AngelaBishop) June 21, 2019
While Foxtel’s executive director of television Brian Walsh said: “Australia has lost an icon of the television industry, a true legend.”
Fans also paid tribute to Collins, with many people sharing tales of the movies he inspired them to watch. One person wrote: “I loved how #BillCollins would talk about the era of classic films and their stars with such genuine love and provide informative and interesting commentary. But the best bit was his rare gems of little-known facts. Such a lovely gentle man.”
Another said: “R.I.P. Bill Collins. I have many fond memories of my Mum & I watching him present classic films when I was a kid, which has contributed to my love of old movies.” While a third commented: “Thank you for the insights, the enthusiasm, and the memories of afternoons spent watching golden age films with my grandma.”