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Louis Mahoney: pioneer actor and activist dies at 81

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Louis Mahoney is remembered as “a brilliant actor and the most wonderful human being”

Actor Louis Mahoney, who appeared in movies like Cry Freedom and TV shows Fawlty Towers and Doctor Who, died at the age of 81.

Early in his career, Mahoney was one of the first black actors of the Royal Shakespeare Company in the 1960s.

He also helped found Performers Against Racism in the 1980s to campaign against apartheid in South Africa.

And he worked in the Equity syndicate to improve the representation of non-white actors on British television.

A statement from his agents Waring and McKenna said: “Louis paved the way for many actors who followed: a longtime activist and a champion in anti-racism.

“Her warmth and good humor will be greatly missed.”

Mahoney was born in The Gambia and moved to the United Kingdom in 1957 to study medicine, but decided in the 1960s that his future was to play.

His roles included the doctor in the 1975 episode of Fawlty Towers The Germans, who was in the news recently when it was removed from a streaming service.

He has also appeared in a series of Doctor Who episodes and TV shows such as Runaway Bay, Harbor Lights and Oscar Charlie. Earlier this year, he was seen in BBC One’s The Split.


Louis Mahoney in Dr Who: Planet of Evil in 1975

His film credits included the drama of Richard Attenborough 1987 Cry Freedom, plus 1981 sequel to Omen The Final Conflict and Captain Phillips of 2013. He also remained a regular performer on stage.

As chairman of Equity’s Afro-Asian committee, he tried to persuade broadcasters and drama schools to reform their attitudes to overcome what he called “big hurdles for anyone who was not not white “.

The Royal Court Theater in London remembered him as “a brilliant actor and the most wonderful human being; a dedicated activist and an extraordinary artist”.

Screenwriter Jack Thorne said, “Louis Mahoney was one of those actors who could carry an entire world through his eyes. Maybe because he led such an extraordinary life.”

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