The actor Earl Cameron, the longest-lived actor ever to appear in Doctor Who, has died at the age of 102.
Earl Cameron appeared in the 1966 Doctor Who story The Tenth Planet, the final story featuring the First Doctor. He played Glyn Williams, one of two astronauts on the Zeus IV when it conducted an orbital atmosphere survey mission. He was the first Black actor to portray an astronaut on any film or TV series in the world.
Cameron is best known for his pioneering work becoming one of the first black actors to take up a starring role in a British film. He played Johnny Lambert in Pool of London, a 1951 British noir crime film and the first film to portray an interracial relationship.
Earl Cameron was born in Pembroke, Bermuda. As a member of the Merchant Navy, he sailed the world but found himself stranded in London when World War II broke out.
A ticket to the theatre excited his interest in acting and in 1942 he talked his way into a West End production of Chu Chin Chow. Further roles followed and in 1945 he toured with the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA) to play to British armed forces personnel in India.
His breakthrough acting role was in Pool of London directed by Basil Dearden and set in post-war London. It involved racial prejudice, romance and a diamond robbery. He won much critical acclaim for his role in the film, which is considered the first major role for a black actor in a British mainstream film. Over the next 50 years, he made many feature films starring with actors such as Sean Connery in the James Bond movie Thunderball, and Sidney Poitier in A Warm December.
In Television one of his earliest major roles was a starring part in the BBC 1960 TV drama The Dark Man, in which he played a West Indian cab driver. In 1956 he had a smaller part in another BBC drama exploring racism in the workplace, A Man From The Sun. He appeared in the TV series The Prisoner as the Haitian supervisor in the episode The Schizoid Man. Other television work included Emergency – Ward 10, The Zoo Gang, Crown Court, Jackanory, Dixon of Dock Green, Neverwhere, Waking the Dead, Kavanagh QC, Babyfather, EastEnders, Dalziel and Pascoe, and Lovejoy.
In 2009 he was appointed a CBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours list. In 2012 he returned to his country of birth to open the Earl Cameron Theatre in Hamilton, Bermuda.
Earlier this year he became the longest-lived credited actor to appear in Doctor Who, overtaking Zohra Sehgal who died in 2014. He is one of four Doctor Who actors to have reached the age of 100.
Earl Cameron died on 3rd July 2020