Earl Cameron, famous for his many roles in the 1950s when cinema was still not very open to people of color, died at the age of 102.
It is a great precursor that passed away this week. Earl cameron, popular British actor in the 1950s, died on Friday July 3 at the age of 102 years. Born in Bermuda in 1917, he emigrated to the United Kingdom in 1939 before going to the movies. With many small roles in the 1950s, he became one of the very first popular black actors at a time when cinema opened its doors much less to people of color. A precursor who played it however modest during an interview with the newspaper The Guardian in 2017: “I have never seen myself as a pioneer. Later, looking at my journey, I realized that I had become“, he explained.
The “frustration” of a racist cinema
Fans of Agent 007 may have seen it in Operation Thunder, in which he plays the contact of Sean Connery in the Bahamas. A small role like his career, he who fought so hard to get each of his places on a shoot: “Unless it is specifically stated that it was a role for a black actor, they never thought of a black actor for a role. And they never planned to change a role from white to a role from black. This is the problem I encountered. I had almost only small roles, it was extremely frustrating – not just for me, but for all black actors. It was really difficult to get roles that were worth it“, he confided to Guardian.
60 years later, cinema has made a radical change, possible thanks to the involvement of people like Earl Cameron. It has been done Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2009 for his entire career. So he died peacefully this Friday, surrounded by his wife and the rest of his family. Numerous personalities from British cinema and television have paid tribute to him on social networks.