Earl Cameron CBE
Earl Cameron, CBE (8 August 1917 – 3 July 2020) was a Bermudian actor. He’s known as one of the first black actors to break the “colour bar” in the United Kingdom. With his appearance in 1951’s Pool of London, Cameron becames the first black actor to take up a starring role in a British film.
“Earl Cameron brought a breath of fresh air to the British film industry’s stuffy depictions of race relations. Often cast as a sensitive outsider,Cameron gave his characters a grace and moral authority that often surpassed the films’ compromised liberal agendas.” Screenonline.
He hadn’t intended to be an actor but during the war he hated his job as a kitchen porter at the Strand Corner House so he took the opportunity to play a walk on part in a West End revival of the musical ‘Chu Chin Chow’. From there he was given a small speaking part in ‘The Petrified Forest’ in 1942. Although untrained he had little difficulty in finding regular acting roles but conscious of his inexperience took speech and singing lessons under Amanda Ira Aldridge, the daughter of Shakespearean actor Ira Aldridge. Gaining experience acting in over 70 repertory productions around the country in five years he then made his film debut in 1951 in ‘Pool of London’.
With the death of Olaf Pooley on July 14, 2015, he is the oldest surviving “Doctor Who” cast member. He played Glyn Williams in Doctor Who: The Tenth Planet: Episode 1 (1966) and Doctor Who: The Tenth Planet: Episode 2 (1966).
Earl Cameron was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2009 Queen’s New Years Honours List for his services to Drama.
Sadly Mr Cameron died peacefully on 3 July 2020, aged 102, at home in Kenilworth surrounded by his wife and family.