Cecil Colby in 'Dynasty'
Friday 04 November 2005
The Canadian actor Lloyd Bochner caused his greatest stir globally in the gloss-and-glitz American soap opera Dynasty as Cecil Colby, the Denver oil billionaire who helped Blake Carrington to build his own oil empire but turned into an arch-rival and betrayed their friendship by bedding Blake's former wife, Alexis.
Bochner was a pivotal player in the first 40 episodes of Dynasty (1981-82) as the smooth-talking but manipulative businessman who did his deals both in the boardroom and bedroom. He gave Blake a loan to help him when Denver-Carrington was in crisis, on condition that his oil rival's daughter, Fallon, married his own nephew, Jeff, whom he had brought up at his Nine Oaks estate following the disappearance of the boy's father.
When Denver-Carrington became a serious competitor to his own ColbyCo, Cecil turned on Blake and even arranged a bomb explosion that temporarily blinded him. He found an ally in his campaign when Alexis Carrington returned to Denver, a case of passion and greed united in one aim - to bring down Blake. The couple planned to marry and, although Cecil suffered a heart attack while in bed having sex with Alexis, the couple went ahead with the wedding at his hospital bed, only for him to die minutes later, leaving ColbyCo to his widow and nephew. The richest woman in Colorado, Alexis had the wealth and power to pursue Cecil's aim of destroying Blake.
The machinations between Cecil and Alexis set the scene for the colourful events that were to follow - the introduction of Joan Collins as soap's biggest superbitch proving a turning-point in attracting viewers worldwide. Dynasty continued until 1989, overtaking its rival Dallas in the American audience ratings, with ever more bizarre affairs, weddings, double-dealing, kidnappings and murders.
Born in Toronto in 1924, Bochner started his career on Vancouver radio at the age of 11, acting in dramas and doing voiceovers. After leaving the University of Toronto with a sociology degree, he served with the Canadian Navy during the Second World War, then made his film début in the Canadian picture The Mapleville Story (1946).
Moving to New York in 1951, he found his first success as Captain Nicholas Lacey in the television soap opera One Man's Family (1952) and appeared as the Young Gentleman, alongside Orson Welles, in a small-screen production of King Lear (1953). However, he continued to work in Canadian television and film until landing the role of Chief of Police Neil Campbell in the American crime series Hong Kong (1960-61).
After playing a scientist trying to deciper an alien text in "To Serve Man", a 1962 story in the classic sci-fi series The Twilight Zone - ranked No 11 in the American magazine TV Guide's "100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time" - the actor took scores of character roles in popular television series.
Bochner's films included the crime dramas Tony Rome (1967) and The Detective (1968), both starring a sleuthing Frank Sinatra, and the psychological thriller The Night Walker (1964), featuring Barbara Stanwyck.
The winner of two Liberty Awards, Canada's top acting honour, he was the father of the actor Hart Bochner.
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