Pat Roach, who has died of cancer at the age of 67, entered showbusiness via wrestling in the 1970s and subsequently found steady work as a ''heavy'' in big Hollywood movies, such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and Conan the Destroyer. But it is as the big, bearded character Bomber in the ITV drama series Auf Wiedersehen, Pet that he best known.

Born in Birmingham, Roach grew to a height of 6ft 4in and was well-built and fit. Professional wrestling was enormously popular in Britain at the time, a mixture of sport and showbiz, and presented an obvious opening for his talents. As Big Pat Roach, he shared

top billing with the likes of Giant Haystacks and won the British and European heavyweight titles.

His film career began with a small supporting role as a bouncer in Stanley Kubrick's controversial classic A Clockwork Orange in 1971. It whetted Roach's appetite, and the famously-perfectionist director gave him another small role in his next film, the period drama Barry Lyndon (1975). Roach auditioned for the part of the costumed Darth Vader in Star Wars (1977), but lost out to weightlifter David Prowse.

He played a character called Oak in The Spaceman and King Arthur, a 1979 update of Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, which also featured Jim Dale, Kenneth More, John Le Mesurier and Rodney Bewes. More significantly though, he went head-to-head with Harr-ison Ford's Indiana Jones in two different roles in Raiders of the Lost Ark, two years later.

He was a sherpa trapped

in a burning bar and also the moustached, shaven-headed mechanic who battles with Indiana Jones on a desert

airfield and gets caught by an aircraft propeller. Roach later told Empire film magazine that he had almost died filming the first scene.

''We did a take where Harr-ison hits me with a table, but

the table didn't break and it knocked me out,'' he said. ''One of the stunt guys ran in and pulled me out of the fire, which was very brave because he made a decision that spoiled Spielberg's shot.''

Nevertheless, it was the beginning of a beautiful new friendship, and Steven Spielberg came calling again when he made the sequels Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) and Indiana Jones

and the Last Crusade (1989). ''I got killed four times during the three Raiders movies,'' Roach later recalled.

By that time, he was well established, both in films and on television. He appeared with Laurence Olivier in the mythological adventure Clash of the Titans (1981), played the villain Lippe, who does battle with Sean Connery's James Bond at a health farm in the Thunderball remake Never

Say Never Again (1983), and played General Kael in the highly-rated fantasy adventure,

Willow (1988).

Roach became close friends with Arnold Schwarzenegger,

who was a keen wrestling fan and with whom he worked on films Conan the Destroyer (1984) and Red Sonja (1985). Schwarzenegger later wrote

the foreword of Roach's autobiography, If: The Pat Roach Story (2002).

''Twenty or so years ago, there weren't so many big, ugly guys around, so there was

plenty of work for me,'' Roach said in a recent interview.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he began to work more regularly in television as well, with appearances in Hazell and Juliet Bravo, before joining Jimmy Nail and Timothy Spall as one of a gang of English builders working in Germany in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet (1983), a winning comedy-drama from writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais.

The characters were beautifully written, with Roach as Brian ''Bomber'' Busbridge,

the shy father figure, the proverbial gentle giant, and Roach relished the chance to play someone who was closer to his own personality than the usual thugs he had previously been required to portray.

The mischievous but lovable brickies became something of a cult phenomenon. A second series followed a few years later, but another 16 years elapsed before the BBC recalled the cast for a third series, and there was subsequently a fourth, set in Cuba.

Roach told one interviewer: ''Auf Wiedersehen, Pet has overtaken everything now. I still get approached for autographs for wrestling, James Bond and Indiana Jones, but I now sign more Auf Wiedersehen, Pet autographs than ever before.''

Meanwhile, Roach's film career continued apace with appearances in the Scottish drama The Big Man (1990), with Liam Neeson, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), with Kevin Costner, and the fantasy adventure, Kull the Conqueror (1997).

He co-wrote a second book called Pat Roach's Birmingham (2004) with Shirley Thompson, who also collaborated on his autobiography, and ran his own fitness centre in the city.

Sadly, he was too ill to join the rest of the cast for a new instalment of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, which they are currently filming in Thailand.

Pat Roach is survived by his wife Doreen, son, Mark and grandson, Patrick.

Pat Roach, actor and wrestler; born May 19, 1937, died

July 17, 2004.