Thanks to later roles in which he often played characters connected to the criminal underworld, George Cole's name has long been synonymous with England's rougher, seedier side. However, it is easy to overlook that he is also an accomplished performer with over 70 years of experience spanning radio, film, and television. Cole's career included working alongside top British actors of the '40s and '50s, including stage legend Alastair Sim, whose family took Cole in when he was 15 and helped him lose his Cockney accent. They appeared on the same marquee throughout the decade, most famously in the 1951 version of "A Christmas Carol"--in which Cole played young Ebenezer Scrooge, Sim the older version--and the '54 comedy "The Belles of St. Trinian's." In the latter (and its numerous sequels throughout the '50s and '60s), Cole played the dandy, Flash Harry, who always appeared up to no good, and Sim appeared in drag as the headmistress. Meanwhile, in '59 Cole played Fingers, the inept leader of a group of thieves in the comedy "Too Many Crooks," and in the following decade began playing criminals on television, most notably in the series "Minder." From 1979 to 1994, he co-starred in "Minder" as Arthur Daley, a struggling con man who is not nearly the enterprising criminal he would like others to believe. Thanks to his ability to hide his natural accent, Cole has been able to play upper-crust characters as well.
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