Earl Cameron, one of the first black actors to forge a successful career in British film and television, has died aged 102, a family friend has said.
Bermuda-born Cameron, who lived with his wife in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, died after going to sleep on Friday, Martin Beckett said.
Cameron first appeared on screen in the 1951 film, Pool of London, in a rare starring role for a black actor.
His other credits were the films, The Queen and Thunderball and Doctor Who.
Cameron was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours.
‘Iconic Bermudian actor’
Mr Beckett said: “He had sheltered himself because of Covid and had not really been keen on going out, he had chest problems.
“He’s a great character, very spiritual, very modest, we’re going to miss him.
“He would never take on roles that demeaned people of colour… he was often subject of a lot of racial prejudice, but he never really got angry about it. He pitied people that couldn’t accept him.”
Bermuda Premier David Burt tweeted “I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of iconic Bermudian actor Earl Cameron.”
I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of iconic #Bermudian actor Earl Cameron. I join the Bermuda community in celebrating his long and remarkable life. On behalf of the Government and people of Bermuda I express my sincerest condolences to his wife, children and family. pic.twitter.com/J9LBGEJxMJ— Premier David Burt (@BermudaPremier) July 4, 2020
Paterson Joseph, who recently starred as Kamal Hadley in the BBC’s Noughts and Crosses series, said he was a “giant man”, whose “pioneering shoulders are what my generation of actors stand on”.
Giant Man. His generation’s pioneering shoulders are what my generation of actors stand on. No shoulders were broader than this gentleman with the voice of god and the heart of a kindly prince. RIP Earl Cameron. 🖤 https://t.co/BTonZcm13x— Paterson Joseph (@ignatius_sancho) July 4, 2020
Artistic director Sir Matthew Bourne said he was a “groundbreaker” with a “great legacy”.
RIP Earl Cameron who has died aged 102! Sad that we didn’t see more opportunities given to this fine actor during his long career… but a groundbreaker certainly and a great legacy to celebrate today! #EarlCameron #BlackActorsMatter pic.twitter.com/A0rPPBEpsI— Matthew Bourne (@SirMattBourne) July 4, 2020
Cameron also starred alongside Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn in the 2005 film The Interpreter.
His final acting credit was for a small part in the 2010 film Inception, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page.
Speaking to the BBC as he turned 100 years old, he said he wanted to see more black actors in roles.
He said: “There’s a lot of talent out there and I think the British film industry would prosper by using more black talent.”