Earl Cameron Celebrates 102nd Birthday

August 8, 2019

Living Bermudian legend Earl Cameron, who blazed the trail for other black actors in British cinema and TV, celebrates his 102nd birthday today [Aug 8].

Mr. Cameron, largely resident in the UK since he arrived there as a merchant seaman in 1940, made his film debut in 1951. He went on to appear in such movies as the James Bond blockbuster Thunderball [1965] and, more recently, the Sean Penn-Nicole Kidman political thriller The Interpreter [2005] and Inception [2010], in which he was featured alongside Leonardo DiCaprio.

During the course of an acting career which began on London’s West End stage at the height of the Nazi blitz in 1941, Mr. Cameron has also appeared in such classic British TV series as Dr. Who, Dangerman and The Prisoner.

One of the first black actors to be regularly cast in British films and television programmes in the 1950s and ’60s, Mr. Cameron is widely credited with having almost single-handedly integrated those branches of the UK’s entertainment industry.

“One might describe him as the best black British actor of his generation, which is another way of saying that he stood alone at the top, waiting for others to climb up and join him,” said Britain’s Guardian newspaper in the run-up to his 100th birthday in 2017.

And the respected Screenonline entertainment website has praised the “grace and moral authority” Mr. Cameron brought to his film and TV performances during the years when he was helping to break the barriers.

He was named a Commander of the British Empire in the Queen’s 2009 New Year’s Honours and was decorated with his award by Prince Charles at a 2010 Buckingham Palace investiture ceremony.

Mr. Cameron has returned to Bermuda frequently in recent years to visit family members as well as to be celebrated by an island which considers him one of its favourite sons.

In 2007 the self-described “back of town boy”, born on Angle Street in Hamilton in 1917, was the recipient of the Bermuda International Film Festival’s Prospero Award for lifetime achievement in 20120.

And the theatre at Hamilton’s City Hall, where Mr. Cameron trod the boards in a 1970 production of the play Galileo directed by Oscar-nominee Mike Leigh, was renamed in his honour in 2012.

A devoted Bahá’í since the early 1960s, Mr. Cameron lives in Warwickshire in England. He is married to Barbara Cameron. His first wife, Audrey Cameron, died in 1994 after 35 years of marriage. He has six children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Saying he is proud of “playing a small part” in breaking down racial barriers, Mr. Cameron recently remarked on the state of diversity in the film and TV industries: “it’s “a little better, not much. It could be a hell of a lot more [diverse]. Life is like that. It’s a wonderful thing, humanity is growing up and realising we’re all here together on this planet. Why do we need these divisions?”

The robust centenarian says he might consider going back to work if he is offered the right role. “I’m not convinced I’ve retired yet,” he said in 2017.

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  1. Happy Birthday from Solomon Islands to Mr Cameroon. We grew up as children loving his ice cream business in those days known as B Cool Ice Cream. Proud that You once lived in Solomons