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The Vintage Guide To London | January 18, 2018

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At the Cinema Museum: actor Earl Cameron CBE in conversation

Earl Cameron was Britain’s first prominent black screen actor, with films including Pool of London, Simba and Sapphire, as well as roles in Thunderball and most recently Inception, along with many TV appearances. He will be in conversation this evening with Marcus Thompson, who is currently filming a feature-length drama documentary about Earl.

Born in Bermuda in 1917, Earl Cameron spent the war in London, where he began his acting career. His breakthrough film role was in the gritty Ealing Studios drama Pool of London (1951) with Bonar Colleano and Susan Shaw. Earl’s next major film was Simba (1955), in which he played a doctor with divided loyalties at the time of the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya, and this was also the setting for Safari the following year, in which he played a Mau Mau general. In 1957, he starred in The Heart Within, another crime drama set in the London docklands, and at the end of the decade he was cast in the landmark drama Sapphire, as the brother of the murdered Sapphire, the discovery of whose body sparks a police investigation that exposes the depths of racial prejudice in Britain in the 1950s.

In the 1960s Earl was in two Tarzan movies, Flame in the Streets and Guns at Batasi, as well as taking the role of James Bond’s Caribbean assistant in Thunderball (1965). Additionally, Earl’s numerous television appearances in the 1960s and 1970s included a starring role in The Dark Man (1960), another drama which explored racial prejudice, this time directed at his character, a West Indian cab driver in the UK. He also appeared in Dangerman and The Prisoner with Patrick McGoohan, Emergency – Ward 10, The Zoo Gang, Dixon of Dock Green, Doctor Who and Jackanory.

Later notable film parts included The Message (1977), about the Prophet Muhammad, a starring role as a corrupt African dictator in The Interpreter (2005) alongside Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman, and The Queen (2006), and he even appeared in the recent blockbuster Inception (2010).

Sat 30 Apr 2011 @ 19:30

Advance tickets £6.50

The Cinema Museum
The Master’s House
2 Dugard Way
SE11 4TH

Nearest Tube: Elephant & Castle, Kennington