A British actor and screenwriter, Colin Welland wrote and performed in several British TV shows, including "Z Cars", before entering film in 1969 and garnering acclaim for his supporting role in Ken Loach's "Kes". Welland scripted John Schlesinger's "Yanks" (1979) and has since worked consistently as a screenwriter and occasionally as an actor. He appeared in Sam Peckinpah's "Straw Dogs" (1971) and won a Best Screenplay Oscar for "Chariots of Fire" (1981), the story of the British 1924 Olympics runners which also won the Academy Award as Best Picture.
The Lancashire native, born Colin Williams, began his professional career as an art teacher. By 1964, he was working as a TV writer and actor. Among his credits are "Bangelstein's Boys" (adapted from his 1968 play) and "Blue Remembered Hills". Welland won a British Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor as the teacher who encourages a young, working-class male shoplifter to put his energies into raising a falcon in "Kes". In 1972, Welland starred in and adapted his 1970 teleplay "Say Goodnight to Grandma" for the stage. His "Kisses at 50" (1973) formed the basis for Bud Yorkin's "Twice in a Lifetime" (1987), in which Gene Hackman is a working class bloke who leaves steady but dull wife Ellen Burstyn for Ann-Margret.
After "Chariots of Fire", Welland's acting became more sporadic and his writing output increased. In 1989, he joined director Euzhan Palcy in co-writing the screenplay for "A Dry White Season" and provided the script for "War of the Buttons" (1994). Yet, Welland never completely abandoned acting. He had a supporting role in the TV-movie "The Secret Life of Ian Fleming" (TNT, 1990).