Monday, October 18, 2010

Mae West: Calvin Lockhart

MAE WEST was attracted to tall, dark, and handsome gents. Calvin Lockhart certainly fit this description.
• • Born as Bert Cooper in Nassau in the month of October — — on 18 October 1934 — — he was raised in the Bahamas before relocating to The Big Apple with ambitions of becoming a civil engineer. He entered Cooper Union but dropped out to forge a performing arts career. The story goes that he was a cabdriver when he was discovered by playwright Ketti Frings, who was so impressed with his arrogance that she cast him in her play "The Cool World" [1960]. From there the six-foot-two hunk aroused controversy on Broadway when he played a black sailor in love with a white girl in the racially-themed "A Taste of Honey" starring Angela Lansbury.
• • The year 1970 was a high-profile time for the actor. A strong, confident, smoothly handsome presence, Bahamian-born Calvin Lockhart first caught moviegoers' attention in the supercharged urban films "Cotton Comes to Harlem" (1970) and "Halls of Anger" (1970) before becoming a fairly steady fixture in the "blaxploitation" movies of the early-to-mid 1970s.
• • In "Myra Breckinridge" [1970] Calvin Lockhart was cast as Irving Amadeus.
• • Complications from a stroke brought about his demise. He died on 29 March 2007 in his homeland, Nassau, Bahamas.
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