Peter Collinson was an English director with a short-lived though prolific career. After Collinson's parents separated when he was a child, he lived with his grandmother briefly before moving into the Actors' Orphanage, where he soon found an invaluable mentor in the Orphanage's president, the legendary Nöel Coward. He eventually went on to direct Coward in Collinson's best known film, the 1969 crime comedy "The Italian Job," which starred Michael Caine as a mobster attempting to hatch a complex caper. But it was television where Collinson had gotten his start in the early 1960s, directing several drama series until he was able to make his film debut with the 1967 violent thriller "The Penthouse." Though Collinson would never approach the peak audience popularity he found with "The Italian Job," he still managed to direct 11 more films for the big screen, plus one TV movie, through the 1970s, working with stars ranging from Tony Curtis and Charles Bronson ("You Can't Win 'Em All"), to Jacqueline Bisset and Christopher Plummer ("The Spiral Staircase"), as well as Anthony Quinn ("Target of an Assassin"), all during a period when English cinema was losing ground. Collinson released his final film, the Australian-based adventure drama "The Earthling," starring William Holden and a post-"The Champ" Rick Schroder, in the summer of 1980, just half a year prior to his premature death to cancer at just 44 years old.