Harry Baird (actor)

Harry Baird (actor)

Harry Baird (12 May 1931 - 13 February 2005) was a Guyana-born British actor who came to prominence in the 1960s.

Baird was born in Georgetown, British Guiana and was educated in Canada and England. He was given his film break in 1954 as a boxer named Jamaica in the Carol Reed film "A Kid for Two Farthings" (1955). A year later he appeared in "Kismet" at the Stoll Theatre in London, and although he had a role in Jean Genet's "The Blacks" in 1961, he subsequently appeared mostly in film and television. His first lead role was as Atimbu, in the "White Hunter" television series in 1958. A series of stereotypical roles followed in low-budget films with generic African or 'jungle' themes.

His most high-profile role, however, was in the Michael Relph-Basil Dearden racial drama "Sapphire" (1959). Quality roles for a black actor in Britain remained scarce, although he appeared in supporting roles in the Patrick McGoohan vehicle "Danger Man" and the Gerry Anderson series "UFO" (1970) as Lieutenant Bradley, although he left the series midway through the run. Baird's only true lead role was in the 1968 Melvin Van Peebles drama "The Story of a Three-Day Pass" in which Baird played a French soldier who falls for a white Parisian woman. Based on Van Peebles own novel "La Permission", it is arguably Baird's finest performance. Other roles included "The Whisperers" (1967) with Edith Evans, "The Touchables" (1968) (in which he played a gay wrestler named Lillywhite), the Hammer film "The Oblong Box" (1969) with Vincent Price, and "The Italian Job" (1969) alongside his friend Michael Caine, whose wife, fellow Guyanan Shakira Baksh, Baird had appeared alongside on "UFO".

Baird was diagnosed with glaucoma in the 1970s, a condition which ultimately left him blind. He died of cancer in London in 2005.

External links

*imdb name|id=0047872|name = Harry Baird

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