Peerless Earl ‘inspiration to young actors all over the world’
The ‘great’ Earl Cameron, CBE, probably did not need any embellishment to his already star-studded crown, but it all happened for him, in grand style abundantly this week.
Hailed as one of Bermuda’s National Treasures, the 94-year-old, widely acclaimed Bermuda-born, trail-blazing stage, screen and television actor was bought home from his residence in the United Kingdom, to jump start the 2012-13 Historical Heartbeats year-long programme.
Front-page coverage of the event, held at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, appeared in yesterday’s
Royal Gazette. Billed as “An Evening With Earl Cameron”, it was really an engrossing life-long trip for the audience, hearing from the mouth of the man himself about some of his near-death experiences, stranded far from home, in a cruel and often unwelcoming, post-World War Two London; and seeing clips from a yet-to-be completed feature-length documentary with highlights from movies that propelled him to such great eminence.
He was interviewed on stage by Dr Kim Dismont Robinson, Government’s Folklife Officer; and eloquently thanked by Mrs Heather Whalen, Director of the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs.
Sustained applause erupted from the audience as Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Patrice Minors made a presentation to Mr Cameron on behalf of the Government and people of Bermuda. She noted his success in the film industry is unparalleled.
She added: “He stands as an inspiration to young actors all over the world, particularly those of colour, for the remarkable contributions he made breaking down barriers that existed for black actors during his time.”
He performed with Oscar-winning film legends, and it was a testimony to his character, “that Mr Cameron remains in his interactions and at his core, a Bermudian gentleman of the highest order, sensitive, generous and eminently charming”.
Mrs Minors thanked Earl for serving as a cultural ambassador for his island home, and for “being a stellar example of what is possible for Bermudians to accomplish”.
Mr Cameron’s thunder was nearly stolen at the outset of the programme by his very own granddaughter, Siria Rutstein, making her debut in her ancestral homeland as a beautiful, soul stirring mezzo-soprano. She rendered ‘My Hero’ as a tribute to her grandfather.
Siria was accompanied on the piano by John Woolridge, producer of the national song, ‘Proud to Be Bermudian’.
Mrs Minors introduced Siria as a citizen of the world, born in Papua New Guinea to Earl’s daughter Helen Cameron Rutstein, and as a result of her father’s work with UNICEF, Siria and her family have lived in Pakistan, Israel, Albania, Italy, the Philippines, China and Boston.
Siria is in her third year at the Boston Conservatory of Music, where she studies musical theatre. Her mother came to Bermuda especially for the BUEI presentation of her father, and left the island for China the next day
Also making a special one-day trip to Bermuda for the Heartbeats Inaugural from New York, with her husband, was former Premier Dame Pamela Gordon.