Robert James-Collier was born on September 23, 1976, in Stockport, Greater Manchester. He is an actor and model, known for his roles as Liam Connor in Coronation Street and as Thomas Barrow in Downton Abbey.
Rob was born in Salford, Greater Manchester, as Robert Collier but changed his name to Rob James-Collier to comply with the rules of Equity. He went to St. Patrick's school in Eccles, Greater Manchester.
Rob has two degrees; he studied business at the University of Huddersfield, and marketing at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.
Having no experience as an actor, Rob auditioned for the series Down to Earth. Stars Ricky Tomilson and Denise Welch were convinced by his talent, and he got the part of the womanizing pub landlord. In 2006 he appeared in New Street Law and played a small part as Stud in Shameless Series 3 under the name of Rob Collier.
In 2006 he joined Coronation Street as one of the brothers buying a share of the local underwear factory. He left the show in October 2008. In an interview in early 2008, Rob announced he was leaving the soap but was planning to come back in the future. However, in June 2008, it was reported that the character of Liam was set to be brutally killed off in the soap as part of a murder-mystery plotline where three well known residents would fall under suspicion of crime. One of these would be Tony Gordon, played by Gray O'Brien, who was in a relationship with Carla Connor, played by Alison King in the show.
Since leaving Coronation Street. Rob has had a leading role as under butler Thomas Barrow in Downton Abbey featuring from the first episode in 2010 onwards, and has appeared in the West End stage version of Calendar Girls.
Rob modelled for Argos, where he appeared in the Autumn/Winter 2007 and Spring/Summer 2008 cataologues.
He won the Sexiest Male award at the 2007 and 2008 British Soap Awards in addition to Best Exit at the 2009 British Soap Awards. He won Sexiest Male and Best Newcomer at the 2007 Inside Soap Awards.
Rob has a son who was born in 2010.