ACTOR Earl Cameron CBE has died 102.
The pioneering actor was one of the first ever black actors to star in a British film.
He was also best known for his roles in Doctor Who, Thunderball and Pool of London.
Bermudian newspaper The Royal Gazette confirmed his death at the age of 102.
Cameron, who lived in Warwickshire, is survived by his wife Barbara and his six children.
Born in 1917, he left Bermuda in 1939 after he joined the British Merhcant Navy.
He arrived in London the evening before the Second World War and was stranded there.
He scraped by in wartime London before he stumbled upon acting.
His leading role in 1951’s Pool of London was a huge step in an industry that had only cast a handful of black actors in prominent roles previously.
It was the first British film to show a mixed-race relationship, with Cameron’s character dating a white woman.
He went on to appear in Simba, Adongo, Sapphire and Guns at Batasi, before starring as Pinder in the James Bond film Thunderball.
A year later he played Williams in Doctor Who – becoming the first black actor to play an astronaut.
In a statement, Cameron’s children said: “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.”
Mr Cameron said in an 2018 interview: “When I arrived in London, I had no qualifications for anything.
“It was a period when it was almost impossible for a black person to get any kind of job.”
His generation’s pioneering shoulders are what my generation of actors stand on.
The veteran actor was inducted into Britain’s Screen Nation Hall of Fame in 2016.
In 2017, Cameron told The Guardian: “I never saw myself as a pioneer. It was only later, looking back, that it occurred to me that I was.”
Actor Paterson Joseph wrote on Twitter: “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.”
Film production company StudioCanalUK wrote: “We’re deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Pool Of London actor Earl Cameron – one of the first prominent black actors to break through the ‘colour bar’ of British cinema.”
Actor David Harewood said Cameron was “a total legend”.
Nicholas Pegg paid tribute to Cameron, as well as Louis Mahoney, the Fawlty Towers and Doctor Who actor whose death, aged 81, was announced recently.
“Fine actors, and back in the day two of the most prominent people of colour in a profession overwhelmingly white,” he said.