Earl Cameron, one of the first black actors to establish a successful career in British film and television, has died aged 102.
The Bermuda-born actor, who lived with his wife in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, died in his sleep on Friday (July 3), according to family friend Martin Beckett.
“He’s a great character, very spiritual, very modest, we’re going to miss him,” Beckett said.
He first appeared on screen in the 1951 movie Pool Of London, which at the time was a rare starring role for a black actor.
In 2009, Cameron was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).
His final acting credit saw him appear in the 2010 movie Inception, directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page.
Beckett said that Cameron “had sheltered himself because of Covid and had not really been keen on going out, he had chest problems.”
He added: “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.”
Homeland star David Harewood called Cameron “a total legend” as he paid tribute to the actor.
A total legend. RIP Earl Cameron. https://t.co/d6fZ3CYx6m
— David Harewood (@DavidHarewood) July 4, 2020
The official Doctor Who Twitter account posted: “We’re sad to report the death of Earl Cameron, who starred in ‘The Tenth Planet’ and was one of the first black actors to forge a successful career in British film and television.”
We're sad to report the death of Earl Cameron, who starred in 'The Tenth Planet' and was one of the first black actors to forge a successful career in British film and television: https://t.co/vfcnYvItQB #DoctorWho pic.twitter.com/JXxRlKw1R6
— Doctor Who Official (@bbcdoctorwho) July 4, 2020
The official James Bond account wrote: “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.”
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
The Foreigner actor Ray Fearon tweeted: “Myself and the Great Earl Cameron on his 100th Birthday unveiling a plaque to Ira Aldridge in Coventry. RIP Great Sir. Thank you For paving a way for us here!”
Myself and the Great Earl Cameron on his 100th Birthday unveiling a plaque to Ira Aldridge in Coventry. RIP Great Sir. Thank you For paving a way for us here!❤ pic.twitter.com/8tiGTjQXCr
— ray fearon (@ray_fearon) July 4, 2020
See more tributes to Cameron below:
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
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
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) July 4, 2020
Raising a glass to Louis Mahoney and Earl Cameron, both of whom we lost this week. Fine actors, and back in the day two of the most prominent people of colour in a profession overwhelmingly white. Both in Doctor Who of course, and much else besides, from Cry Freedom to Inception. pic.twitter.com/DnhKbla5oD
— Nicholas Pegg (@NicholasPegg) July 4, 2020
Very sad to wake up to the news of Earl Cameron's death at 102. I interviewed him a decade ago for the Tenth Planet DVD and was floored by a dignified, kind man absolutely loaded with grace. RIP pic.twitter.com/NDn7qxUA59
— Chris Chapman (@ChrisChapman81) July 4, 2020
Earl Cameron was a natural born performer who made every role his own. His legacy with live on as he has paved the way and passed on the creative baton to others #RIP ❤️ #EarlCameron https://t.co/OYai03tU4g
— Floella Benjamin (@FloellaBenjamin) July 4, 2020
We have lost another legend, the celebrated actor Earl Cameron CBE! I One of the first black people I saw on television. I remember how excited my family would get whenever he appeared. "Earl's on the tele again, come!" A true inspiration. Rest in eternal power, great man. pic.twitter.com/hGUAG9sugB
— Roy Williams (@royboywilliams) July 4, 2020
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