Kenneth Colley

Kenneth Colley

Born (1937-12-07) 7 December 1937
Manchester, Lancashire, England
Occupation Actor
Years active 1961–present

Kenneth Colley (born 7 December 1937) is an English actor. A long-time character actor, he came to wider prominence through his role as Admiral Piett in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.


Unlike the other ill-fated officers who appeared alongside him in The Empire Strikes Back, Colley was the only actor to play an Imperial officer in more than one Star Wars film.[1] Colley reprised his role as Piett in the Cartoon Network animated special Lego Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out in September 2012.[2] Coincidently, Colley and David Prowse had a part in the 1977 fantasy film Jabberwocky.[3]

Colley was born in Manchester, Lancashire. He played Jesus in The Life of Brian, having also appeared in the earlier Monty Python-related production Ripping Yarns episode "The Testing of Eric Olthwaite" alongside Michael Palin. As a Shakespearean actor he played the Duke of Vienna in the BBC Television Shakespeare production of Measure for Measure in 1979.[4]

Colley also held an important role in the Clint Eastwood film Firefox, where he played a Soviet Colonel tasked with the protection of the Firefox and its secrets.

Colley went on to play SS-Standartenführer Paul Blobel in the World War II drama War and Remembrance. He directed one film to date, Greetings, a 2007 horror film starring Kirsty Cox, Henry Dunn and Ben Shockley. According to comments which Terry Gilliam (who directed him in Jabberwocky and acted with him in Life of Brian) made in the DVD audio commentaries for both films, Colley is a terrible stammerer in real life. When he had a role in a film, however, he could recite the lines perfectly. Stuttering is a character trait, however, in his role as the "Accordion Man" in the 1978 BBC television drama, Pennies from Heaven.[5]

Personal life

Colley lives in Hythe, Kent.[6]



Year Title Role Notes
1967 The Jokers De Winter
How I Won the War 2nd Replacement
1968 The Blood Beast Terror James
1970 Performance Tony Farrell
The Music Lovers Modeste Tchaikovsky
1971 The Devils Legrand
1972 The Triple Echo Provo Corporal
1973 Hitler: The Last Ten Days Boldt
1974 Fall of Eagles Father Gapon
Mahler Krenek
Juggernaut Detective Brown
1975 Lisztomania Frédéric Chopin
Slade in Flame Tony Devlin
1977 Jabberwocky 1st Fanatic
1979 Monty Python's Life of Brian Jesus
Measure For Measure 'Duke of Vienna'
1980 The Empire Strikes Back Admiral Piett
1981 Peter and Paul Theodotus
1982 Giro City Martin
Firefox Colonel Kontarsky
1983 The Scarlet and the Black Captain Hirsch
Return of the Jedi Admiral Piett
1984 Return to Waterloo 'The Traveller'
1987 The Whistle Blower Bill Pickett
1988 A Summer Story Jim
1989 The Rainbow Mr. Brunt
1990 I Hired a Contract Killer 'The Killer'
The Plot to Kill Hitler Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel
1996 Brassed Off Greasley
1997 Shadow Run Larcombe


Year Title Role Notes
1974 The Nine Tailors Potty Peake TV mini-series, Series 1 Episode 3, Lord Peter Wimsey
1977 Ripping Yarns Arthur the Robber 1 episode, The Testing of Eric Outhwaite
1978 Les Misérables Police Prefect TV movie
1978 Pennies from Heaven The Accordion Man 6 episodes, TV mini-series
1985 Wallenberg: A Hero's Story Adolf Eichmann TV movie
Mussolini: The Untold Story King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy TV mini-series
1986 Return to Treasure Island Ben Gunn 10 episodes, credited as Ken Colley
1988 War and Remembrance SS-Standartenführer Paul Blobel 2 episodes, TV mini-series
1991 Inspector Morse DCI Patrick Dawson Episode 16 Second Time Around
Prisoner of Honor Captain Alfred Dreyfus TV movie
1993 Unnatural Causes Inspector Gerry Reckless TV movie
2006 Foyle's War Brian Jones 1 episode, Bad Blood
2009 Casualty 1909 Dr. Frederick Smith 3 episodes
2012 Lego Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out Admiral Piett TV movie
2013 Vera Ronald Devreux Series 3, Episode 3 Young Gods
Misfits Old Rudy Series 5, Episode 4


  1. Daniel Mumby. "10 Actors Who Weren't Able to Let Star Wars Go - Page 2". What Culture. Retrieved 8 December 2015. ...since his character is the only Imperial officer to last more than one Star Wars film
  2. Milton, Luke (18 September 2012). "Interview: Writer Michael Price Reveals LEGO Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out!". Fruitless Pursuits. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  3. "Jabberwocky (1977)". BFI. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  4. "BFI Screenonline: Measure For Measure (1979)". BFI Screenonline. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  5. "BFI Screenonline: Pennies From Heaven (1978)". BFI Screenonline. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  6. Matt Leclere (29 October 2015). "Sir Ian McKellen lends a touch of magic to Folkestone's Leas Pavilion campaign". Kent Online. Retrieved 8 December 2015. Ken Colley, from Hythe

External links

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