Earl Cameron, the first Black man to star in a mainstream British movie — and the first to depict an interracial romance in one, nearly 70 years ago — has died at 102.
Cameron died at his home in England on Friday, July 3, according to his agent.
Born in Bermuda on August 8, 1917, he joined the British Merchant Navy and became interested in acting in 1941 after seeing a play. He was first cast in a nonspeaking stage role that year, and by 1942 had made his speaking debut.
After a decade on the stage, he made his film debut as the lead in Pool of London (1951), making him the first Black male lead of a British movie since Paul Robeson (1898-1976) 20 years before. He was acclaimed for his performance in the racially charged crime drama.
He went on to star in Simba (1955), The Heart Within (1957), Sapphire (1957), Tarzan the Magnificent (1960), Flame in the Streets (1961), A Warm December (1973) and The Message (1976).
His most notable appearances were as Pinder in the James Bond installment Thunderball (1965) and as the "Elderly Bald Man" of Inception (2010), his final feature.
Cameron was also a presence on the small screen, and at the time of his death had been the oldest living Doctor Who (1966) veteran.
In 2017, Cameron — whose final performance was in a 2013 shirt — told The Guardian defiantly that he was not retired. He went on to say:
“I never saw myself as a pioneer. It was only later, looking back, that it occurred to me that I was.”
At the time of his death, Earl Cameron was not only the oldest-living “Doctor Who” actor, but also the longest-lived “Doctor Who” actor. He was about five weeks shy of his 103rd birthday on August 8th.