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Christopher Collins (1949)

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Christopher Charles Collins (August 30, 1949 – June 12, 1994), also known as Chris Latta, was an American actor, voice artist and comedian, perhaps best known as the voice of Cobra Commander on the G.I. Joe animated series and as the voice of Starscream in the first Transformers animated series. He is also noted among Star Trek fans for his guest roles on The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, along with many other television series and a number of films. In addition, he had a successful stand-up comedy career.

  Biography  

 early life and career
Collins was born Christopher Lawrence Latta in Orange, New Jersey, and grew up in the Morningside Heights section of Manhattan, New York City. His legal name became Christopher Charles Collins when his stepfather adopted him. Collins' biological father, Robert Latta, was a New York stage actor. His mother, Jane Morin, worked as an advertising executive. In his stand-up routine, he claimed to have grown up in Harlem and said his ultra-liberal parents had moved the family there "so he could meet some Negroes." (Morningside Heights is sometimes called "West Harlem.")

After a year at New York University, he studied acting, dance, voice and mime. In the mid-1970s, he acted on the New York and Boston stage and did voice-over work for Boston radio station WBCN. He made his animation voice acting debut as one of the English dubbers of the 1979 anime series Space Battleship Yamato . He was most recognizable in that series as the voice of space marine Sgt. Knox during the Comet Empire installment.

 personal life
Collins married twice and had three children. Early in his career, he divided his time between New York, Boston, and Los Angeles before settling in L.A. in 1983. In 1991, he moved to Ventura, California.

Christopher Collins died on June 12, 1994, his cause of death officially recorded as a cerebral hemorrhage following a long illness. Although his contemporaries have spoken fondly of Latta, some have made cryptically suggestive comments on the nature of his death, including Peter Cullen (who remarked that he was a victim of Hollywood's tendency to "devour its young"), Susan Blu (who said that Latta was "a sweet guy who had his demons"), and Flint Dille (who noted on the commentary track for the 20th anniversary DVD release of The Transformers: The Movie that he and other members of the production staff "never really found out" how he died). In another interview, Dille recalled: "There was one summer when I had to bail Chris Latta out of the Hollywood jail in order to get him to the recording on time. Never figured out what he was in for, but he said it was jaywalking. Chris was a wild, interesting guy. I liked him and was very sorry to hear that he died."

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Christopher Collins", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.