British cinema legend Earl Cameron has died at the age of 102. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cameron’s agent told The Guardian Cameron died Friday in his Kenilworth, England home.
Cameron advanced British film when he was cast by Basil Dearden as a sailor who falls in love with a white woman in Pool of London. The role, opposite Susan Shaw, was the first monumental role for a Black actor in a mainstream British film. The relationship depicted in the film also challenged British viewers at the time, pushing forward representation of interracial relationships.
He has also played in films Sapphire and Flame in the Streets, which also challenged viewers at the time due to its racial themes. He also starred in James Bond film Thunderball and in Sidney Poitier-starrer A Warm December, a film in which Poitier portrays an affluent Black man who falls in love with an African aristocrat (Ester Anderson).
In a statement, Cameron’s children have said how “overwhelmed” they have been by the “outpourings of love and respect we have received” from Cameron’s fans. “As an artist and as an actor, he refused to take roles that demeaned or stereotyped the character of people of color. He was truly a man who stood by his moral principles and was inspirational.”