Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Earl Cameron: Tributes to a “revolutionary” black actor who appeared in Bond and Doctor Who | Ents & Arts News

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Tributes were paid to Earl Cameron, one of the first black actors to be awarded major roles in British cinema, after his death at 102 years of age.

Modern stars honor a man widely regarded as a pioneer of British cinema, David Harewood calling him “total legend” and Paterson Joseph describing the Briton born in Bermuda as a “giant man”.

David Burt, Prime Minister of Bermuda, said he was “deeply saddened” by the death of Cameron, who became CBE in 2009.

Picture:
Actor outside Buckingham Palace with his CBE in 2009
Earl Cameron (L) in a scene from the 1965 Bond film Thunderball with Rick Van Nutter (C) and Sean Connery (R)
Picture:
Earl Cameron (L) in a scene from the 1965 Bond film Thunderball with Rick Van Nutter (C) and Sean Connery (R)

He said: “At a time when the whole world is looking at the history of people of color, the life and heritage of Earl Cameron is making us pause and remember how he broke down barriers and refused to limit himself. what his humble beginnings could have dictated as his path. “

The film production company StudioCanalUK called him “one of the first leading black actors to break through the” color bar “of British cinema”.

Pool Of London was his first film role and is considered to be the first British film to present an interracial relationship.

He then appeared in the 1965 Bond movie Thunderball with Sean Connery, Inception alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and the 1973 film by Sir Sidney Poitier A Warm December.

His TV credits include Doctor Who in 1966, as well as Danger Man, Dixon Of Dock Green, The Zoo Gang, The Prisoner, The Dark Man and Lovejoy.

Born in Bermuda, he joined the British merchant navy and arrived in the United Kingdom in 1939.

He told the Royal Gazette that he made his debut in the choir of Chu Chin Chow, a West End show, while working as a dishwasher in a restaurant, and that the producers needed someone quickly. a.

Cameron lived in Warwickshire with his second wife, Barbara.

Her children said in a statement: “Our family was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and respect we received when the news of our father’s death was announced.

“As an artist and as an actor, he refused to play roles that demeaned or stereotyped the character of people of color. He was truly a man who respected his moral principles and was an inspiration. “

Actor and director Nicholas Pegg paid tribute to Cameron, as well as Louis Mahoney, actor of Fawlty Towers and Doctor Who whose death, 81, was announced recently.

“Beautiful actors, and back to day two of the most prominent people of color in an extremely white profession,” he said.

Dance choreographer Sir Matthew Bourne said of Cameron: “Sad that we haven’t seen more opportunities for this handsome actor in his long career … but certainly a revolutionary and a great legacy to celebrate today. “

In 2017 Cameron told The Guardian, “I never saw myself as a pioneer. It was only later, in hindsight, that I thought I was.”

“Unless it is specified that it was a party for a black actor, they would never consider a black actor for the party. And they would never consider changing a white party to a black party.

“So that was my problem. I had mostly small parts, and it was extremely frustrating – not just for me but for other black actors. We had a lot of trouble getting valid roles.”

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