It is with deep sadness that BlogtorWho reports the death of two actors who appeared in Doctor Who; Earl Cameron and Louis Mahoney. Both men provided significant roles and demonstrated Doctor Who as a programme which attempt to improve diversity in British television.
Earl Cameron 1917 – 2020
Earl Cameron is thought to be only the second black actor to have a speaking role in Doctor Who after Elroy Joseph in ‘The Smugglers‘. Given the international and futuristic setting of ‘The Tenth Planet’ Cameron was given the role of astronaut Glyn Williams who, along with Dan Schultz, piloted Zeus IV. Their craft was pulled into the gravity of Mondas, home planet of the Cybermen. Cameron himself said in the DVD special feature ‘Frozen Out’ that, “casting a black actor for the part of an astronaut at that time was very futuristic, I would say, very advanced thinking.”
Bermudan born Earl Cameron proved to be a pioneer and boundary breaker. He was one of the first black actors to be to be cast in a leading role with the 1951 film ‘Pool of London’. Cameron would go on to appear in many other feature films including the James Bond movie ‘Thunderball’ (1965) and ‘The Interpreter’ (2005). On the small screen Cameron would appear in episodes of ‘Danger Man’, ‘Jackanory’, ‘Casualty’ and many more. His final major film credit was for a small role in Christopher Nolan’s movie ‘Inception’.
Earl Cameron was made a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 2009 and awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Warwick in 2013. The City Hall Theatre in Hamilton, Bermuda was also renamed the Earl Cameron Theatre in 2012.
Louis Mahoney 1938 – 2020
Gambian born actor Louis Mahoney is one of a select list of actors to have appeared in both the classic and new incarnations of Doctor Who. Mahoney first appeared in Doctor Who as a newscaster in futuristic story ‘Frontier in Space‘. He would return to the show a few years later as Ponti in ‘Planet of Evil‘. Mahoney also gave a memorable performance, opposite future Academy Award winner Carey Mulligan, as an elderly Billy Shipton in ‘Blink‘.
Away from Doctor Who, Louis Mahoney will perhaps best be remembered as the doctor who treats Basil Fawlty in the infamous Fawlty Towers episode ‘The Germans’. Mahoney would be a regular on British television over the years with appearances in ‘Dixon of Dock Green’ and ‘Danger Man’ through to ‘Casualty’, ‘Holby City’ and ‘Being Human’. He would also feature in the 2009 film ‘Captain Phillips’ which starred Tom Hanks in the title role.
Like Earl Cameron before him, Louis Mahoney was also a boundary breaker becoming one of the first black actors in the Royal Shakespeare Company. As an activist he helped found Performers Against Racism to campaign against apartheid in South Africa and worked with Equity to improve the representation of non-white actors on television in the UK.