Tributes from all over the world have been paid to the late Earl Cameron, one of the first black actors to forge a successful career in the British film and TV industries, who has died at age 102.
The Bermuda-born British actor starred in the likes of James Bond film Thunderball and Doctor Who, in addition to Sidney Poitier’s film A Warm December, Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, and later in Inception, co-starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
US filmmaker Ava DuVernay (When They See Us) has paid tribute to Cameron on Twitter, describing him as a “British screen legend” who “left much beauty for us”.
Earl Cameron. A British screen legend who has returned home at the age of 102.
To learn more about him, enjoy Simon Frederick’s THEY’VE GOTTA HAVE US, a doc series on Black cinema history distributed by @ARRAYNow.
Mr. Cameron left much beauty for us. pic.twitter.com/PXHMpcGrJr
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) July 4, 2020
Actors Paterson Joseph and David Harewood have both taken to Twitter to mark Cameron’s death. Joseph wrote that the Thunderball actor 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
Harewood added that Cameron, who was made a CBE in 2009, was a “total legend”.
A total legend. RIP Earl Cameron. https://t.co/d6fZ3CYx6m
— David Harewood (@DavidHarewood) July 4, 2020
Cameron, who played Pinder in Thunderball opposite Sean Connery’s 007, also appeared in ‘The Tenth Planet’ in Doctor Who.
We are sorry to hear that Earl Cameron, who played Pinder in Thunderball, has passed away at the age of 102. Our thoughts are with his family at this time. pic.twitter.com/vOQrWQQAf1
— James Bond (@007) July 4, 2020
David Burt, the Premier of Bermuda, said he was “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
Cameron’s children said in a statement, “Our family have been overwhelmed by the outpourings of love and respect we have received at the news of our father’s passing.
“As an artist and as an actor he refused to take roles that demeaned or stereotyped the character of people of colour. He was truly a man who stood by his moral principles and was inspirational.”
The late actor’s other television credits included the likes of The Dark Man, Lovejoy, Danger Man, Dixon Of Dock Green, The Zoo Gang, and The Prisoner.
In 2017, Cameron told The Guardian in an interview, “I never saw myself as a pioneer. It was only later, looking back, that it occurred to me that I was.”
He continued, “Unless it was specified that this was a part for a black actor, they would never consider a black actor for the part. And they would never consider changing a white part to a black part.
“So that was my problem. I got mostly small parts, and that was extremely frustrating – not just for me but for other black actors. We had a very hard time getting worthwhile roles.”