Earl Cameron CBE has died 102, his family have confirmed.
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.”
Bermudian newspaper The Royal Gazette confirmed his death at the age of 102.
The pioneering actor was one of the first-ever black actors to star in a British film.
Born in Pembroke, Bermuda, he left in 1939 after he joined the British Merchant Navy and arrived in London the evening before the Second World War and was stranded there.
Cameron’s breakthrough acting role was in Pool of London, a 1951 film directed by Basil Dearden, set in post-war London involving racial prejudice, romance and a diamond robbery.
Four years later, in his next film role, he appeared in Simba – a drama about the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya.
While Cameron enjoyed an illustrious career in film, he also cut his teeth in the TV sector, appearing in a number of well-loved small screen programmes.
He starred in Doctor Who – The Tenth Planet, the first Black Actor to portray an astronaut on any film or TV series in the world, Neverwhere, Waking the Dead, Kavanagh QC, Babyfather, EastEnders, Dalziel and Pascoe, and Lovejoy.
In a 2018 interview with the Royal Gazette, he said: “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.”
He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2009 New Year Honours.