Colin Friels

Colin Friels born in 1952, is a Scottish-born Australian actor. He is an actor, known for Water Rats (1996), Dark City (1998) and Darkman (1990).


Friels was born in Kilwinning, Ayrshire, Scotland. His mother was a mill worker and his father a joiner. He lived in Kilbirnie until 1963, when his family moved to Australia, arriving in Darwin, Northern Territory before settling in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton. He worked as a bricklayer’s labourer before studying at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA). He graduated in 1976 along with Linden Wilkinson and Michael Siberry.

In late 1997, Friels was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. However, his treatment was successful and he is one of the very few victims of this disease to go into long-term remission. During his treatment he even continued to work on the set of Water Rats, until eventually the impact of the chemotherapy stopped him working and he chose to have his character written out of the series by sending him on a sailing journey around the world. At this time, however, he also continued his stage work, and was performing in Sydney Theatre Company’s Macbeth.

Colin Friels
Colin Friels

Friels has been married to actress Judy Davis since 1984,+ they have two children, Jack and Charlotte. They were briefly separated, but later reconciled. The relationship was briefly in the media when an argument led to a court order against Friels: however, they remained together at that time.

Friels believes that social and political awareness comes with acting, and is known for his engagement in policy debates, including industrial issues such as workplace relations and free trade. He publicly criticised Bush administration policy in the Middle East, and supported the Sydney Peace Foundation. His engagement with social issues has also been evident in his acting work, with two prominent examples being his lead role in Ground Zero, in which he played a cameraman investigating British nuclear testing in South Australia and his appearance in the ABC television drama Bastard Boys, in which he played union official John Coombs.



  • 2004 Film Critics Circle of Australia Best Actor – Male (Tom White)
  • 2004 Lexus IF Award Best Actor (Tom White)
  • 2003 Australian Entertainment “Mo” Award Best Actor – Play (Copenhagen)
  • 2003 Helpmann Award Best Male Actor – Play (Copenhagen)
  • 1997 Logie Award Most Outstanding Actor (Water Rats)
  • 1995 Australian Film Institute Award Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Drama (Halifax f.p.: Hard Corps)
  • 1986 Australian Film Institute Award Best Actor in a Lead Role (Malcolm)


  • 2006 Film Critics Circle of Australia Best Actor (Solo)
  • 2006 Film Critics Circle of Australia Best Supporting Actor (The Book of Revelation)
  • 2004 Australian Film Institute Award Best Actor in a Lead Role (Tom White)
  • 2000 Logie Award Most Outstanding Actor in a Series (Water Rats)
  • 1991 Australian Film Institute Award Best Actor in a Lead Role (Dingo)
  • 1987 Australian Film Institute Award Best Actor in a Lead Role (Ground Zero)


  1. Hoodwink (1981)
  2. Monkey Grip (1982)
  3. Buddies (1983)
  4. For the Term of His Natural Life (1983)
  5. The Coolangatta Gold (1984)
  6. Kangaroo (1986)
  7. Malcolm (1986)
  8. Ground Zero (1987)
  9. High Tide (1988)
  10. Darkman (1990)
  11. Weekend with Kate (1990)
  12. Class Action (1991)
  13. Dingo (1992)
  14. Police Rescue (1992)
  15. Stark (1993)
  16. A Good Man in Africa (1994)
  17. Angel Baby (1995)
  18. Back of Beyond (1995)
  19. Cosi (1996)
  20. Mr. Reliable (1996)
  21. Water Rats (1996–1999)
  22. Dark City (1998)
  23. The Man Who Sued God (2001)
  24. Black and White (2002)
  25. BlackJack (2003,04,05,06,07)
  26. The Mystery of Natalie Wood (2004)
  27. Tom White (2004)
  28. Bastard Boys (2007)
  29. The Informant (2008)
  30. Gangs of Oz (2009)
  31. Blind Company (2009)
  32. Killing Time (2010)
  33. Matching Jack (2010)
  34. The Nothing Men (2010)
  35. Tomorrow, When The War Began (2010)
  36. The Eye of the Storm (2011)
  37. Schapelle (2013)
  38. The Man Who Jumped
  39. The Secret Daughter Jack Norton /channel 7