Joe Robinson (actor)

Joseph Robinson (31 May 1927 – 3 July 2017[1]) was an English actor and stuntman born in Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland. He was a champion professional wrestler, as were his father Joseph and his grandfather John. His brother, Doug Robinson, is also an actor and stuntman.[2]

Joe Robinson
Joe Robinson as Thor in Thor and the Amazon Women
Born
Joseph Robinson

(1927-05-31)31 May 1927
Died3 July 2017(2017-07-03) (aged 90)
Alma materRoyal Academy of Dramatic Art
OccupationActor, stuntman
Years active1952–1971

Career

Professional wrestling

Robinson initially embarked on a career in wrestling as 'Tiger Joe Robinson' and won the European Heavyweight Championship in 1952. At the same time, he was also interested in acting and studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. After injuring his back wrestling in Paris he decided to concentrate on acting.[3] Joe Robinson's daughter Polly Robinson (Hardy-Stewart) has also continued the family's success in martial arts by winning the junior Judo championships in the 1980s.

Acting

Robinson's first role came in the keep-fit documentary Fit as a Fiddle and in the same year, 1952, he followed it up with a part as Harry 'Muscles' Green in the musical Wish You Were Here in the West End of London.

He made his film debut in 1955's A Kid for Two Farthings, in which he wrestled Primo Carnera. His film and television career really took off in the 1960s and in 1962 he appeared in British classic The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner alongside appearances in The Saint and The Avengers in 1963. With his younger brother Doug and Honor Blackman, he co-authored Honor Blackman's Book of Self-Defence in 1965 (Joe was also a judo champion and black belt at karate). The year after he appeared in an episode of the sitcom Pardon the Expression which referenced this book. During this time he was also a popular stunt-arranger, working on several James Bond films and in 1960 was invited to Rome where he appeared in five muscle-bound Italian epics, including Taur the Mighty (1963), Thor and the Amazon Women (1963) and Ursus and the Tartar Princess (1961). Other notable big-screen appearances include 1961's Carry On Regardless, of the British institution the Carry Ons. According to the book Tarzan of the Movies by Gabe Essoe, Robinson played the role of Tarzan in obscure Italian-made films (Taur, il re della forza bruta and Le gladiatrici); the use of the Tarzan character, however, was unauthorised and the character's name had to be changed to Thaur before the film was allowed for public release. His final big-screen appearance was in the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever in which he plays diamond smuggler Peter Franks. Robinson claimed that he was a contender for the Red Grant role in From Russia with Love. Though he did not get it, Connery recommended him for the role in Diamonds are Forever.[3] Robinson also claimed he turned down the role of the Rank Organisation's Gongman.

Retirement

He retired from acting, and lived in Brighton where he opened a martial arts centre. He conducted classes in Wadō-ryū style karate and Judo. In 1998 he hit the headlines after fighting off a gang of eight muggers single-handed. The 70-year-old was alighting from a bus in Cape Town when the gang struck with baseball bats and knives. 6 ft 2 ins Joe overpowered two with flying kicks, karate-chopped another in the chest and broke the arm of a fourth - the rest fled.

Reminiscing about his career in the Daily Mail recently, Robinson spoke on the subject of Laurence Olivier's alleged homosexuality saying 'my kids used to play with his kids at school and I taught him judo ... I have no idea if he was a homosexual... but he did once tell me I had lovely shoulders'.

Death

Robinson died at the age of 90 on 3 July 2017, in Brighton, East Sussex.[4]

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1955A Kid for Two FarthingsSam Heppner
1956Die ganze Welt singt nur AmoreMax, der Athlet
1956Pasaporte al infiernoPete Archer
1957Fighting MadMuscles Tanner
1957The Flesh Is WeakLofty
1958The Strange AwakeningSven
1958Sea FuryHendrik
1958Murder ReportedJim
1960The Two Faces of Dr. JekyllCorinthianUncredited
1960The Bulldog BreedTall Sailor
1961Carry On RegardlessDynamite Dan
1961Erik the ConquerorGarianUncredited
1961BarabbasBearded Gladiator
1961Tartar InvasionUrsus
1962The Loneliness of the Long Distance RunnerRoach
1963Taur, il re della forza brutaTaur
1963Doctor in DistressSonja's Boyfriend
1963Thor and the Amazon WomenThor
1971Diamonds Are ForeverPeter Franks(final film role)

References

  1. "Tiger Joe Robinson Dead: 'Diamonds Are Forever' Actor Was 90". The Hollywood Reporter. 31 December 1969. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  2. "Joe Robinson". IMDb.com. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  3. "Joe has eye of the Tiger". The Visitor. 10 August 2004. Retrieved 10 April 2009.
  4. "Joseph ROBINSON Obituary - London Bridge, City of London | The Times". Legacy.com. Retrieved 23 July 2017.
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