Bermudian-born Earl Cameron make his mark as Britain’s first black film star. During a career spanning more than 60 years, he appeared in more than 90 films, winning plaudits both for his acting and his positive portrayals of black characters. He refused to take roles that were demeaning to blacks.
Born in Hamilton, he left the Island to join the Merchant Marine. In 1939, he landed in London, where he struggled to find work because of his race. He eventually got a job as a dishwasher. Some years later, he landed a part in a musical by chance.
He spent a decade working in repertory theatre before moving into film. His breakout role was in the 1951 drama Pool of London, one of the first films in the UK to portray an interracial relationship.
Roles in films such as Simba, Guns at Batashi, Safari, Thunderball and Sapphire would follow. He also appeared in US films and worked in television in the UK.
He took a break from acting for 15 years when he moved to the Solomon Islands, but resumed his career upon returning to the UK. He enjoyed film roles (The Queen, The Interpreter and Inception) into his 90s.
He was showered with awards in the UK and was also recognised in his home country. In 2012, City Hall Theatre was renamed Earl Cameron Theatre and he was honoured by the Bermuda government on his 100th birthday.
Following his death at his home in Warwickshire, he was praised by black actors for paving the way. His obituary ran in numerous publications in the UK and the US, an indication of his trailblazing legacy.
>> Obituary, Hollywood Reporter
>> Obituary, The Guardian