Calvin Lockhart

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Calvin Lockhart
Lockhart, 1971
Bert McClossy Cooper[1]

(1934-10-18)October 18, 1934
DiedMarch 29, 2007(2007-03-29) (aged 72)
Nassau, Bahamas
EducationCooper Union School of Engineering
Years active1960–2007
Known forRev. Deke O'Malley – Cotton Comes to Harlem
Biggie Smalls – Let's Do It Again
Spouse(s)(?-?; divorced)[1]
Thelma Walters
(m. 1972; div. 1978)
Lynn Sloan
(m. 1982; div. 1987)
Jennifer Miles
(m. 2006)

Calvin Lockhart (born Bert McClossy Cooper; October 18, 1934 – March 29, 2007) was a Bahamian–American stage and film actor.[3] Lockhart was perhaps best known for his roles as Reverend Deke O'Malley in the 1970 film Cotton Comes to Harlem and Biggie Smalls in the 1975 Warner Bros. film Let's Do It Again.

Early life[edit]

Lockhart was born Bert McClossy Cooper, the youngest of eight children in Nassau, Bahamas.[4] Lockhart's father was Eric Cooper (1912/1913–1976), a Bahamian tailor.[2] Lockhart moved to New York City, New York, when he was 18. He spent one year at the Cooper Union School of Engineering, then left to pursue an acting career. He drove a taxi and operated a carpentry business in the borough of Queens while trying to establish a career as an actor.


In 1960, Lockhart made his Broadway debut, playing a gang leader in The Cool World (a dramatization of Warren Miller's novel of the same name), which closed after just two performances. Lockhart then traveled to Italy and formed his own theater company in which he both acted and directed, before moving to West Germany and then England, where he landed various roles on British television and small roles in films such as 1968's A Dandy in Aspic and Salt and Pepper.

Lockhart's first notable screen role was in Joanna, a 1968 film about an interracial romance, set in London. Joanna was directed by Michael Sarne, who subsequently cast Lockhart in the notorious Myra Breckinridge. Lockhart's first lead role in a film was in Halls of Anger (1970), playing a former basketball star who becomes vice-principal of an inner-city high school to which 60 white students are being moved. An article in The New York Times that year described Lockhart as having "matinee-idol looks" with "chiseled-out-of-marble features" and "skin the color of brown velvet". He also starred in Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970, based on the Chester Himes novel of the same name) as the Reverend Deke O'Malley. In 1974, Lockhart became an actor-in-residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. In the 1980s, he was a guest star for seven episodes in the prime-time soap opera Dynasty, playing Jonathan Lake. He is familiar to horror film fans after his performance as the millionaire big-game hunter in The Beast Must Die (1974).

Later years, death and legacy[edit]

Lockhart headed a Los Angeles campaign called "Getting Off Drugs," an anti-drug effort to get teenagers off drugs in the late 1970s.[5] Lockhart returned to the Bahamas in the late 1990s and worked as a director on several productions of the Freeport Players Guild. Lockhart's last film role was in Rain, a movie that was shot in the Bahamas and was released in 2007. Lockhart died on March 29, 2007, in a Nassau hospital from stroke-related complications, at the age of 72.

Personal life[edit]

Lockhart was married three times[1] and had two sons. In 1972, he married Jamaican model Thelma Walters;[2] they divorced in 1978. In August 1982, Lockhart married British businesswoman Lynn Sloan in the Bahamas;[1] they later divorced. Calvin met his third wife Jennifer Miles in 1979 which led to the birth of actor Julien Lockhart Miles in 1981. The couple officially married 25 years later in 2006, with Julien walking his Mom down the aisle. In addition to Julien, Lockhart has another son named Leslie Lockhart.[5]

Pop culture[edit]

Lockhart character's name in the 1975 film Let's Do It Again, Biggie Smalls, was used by musical artist Christopher Wallace for his 1991 demo, and was still used by media and friends after a lawsuit forced Wallace to change it to Notorious B.I.G.



  1. ^ a b c d e f "Actor Calvin Lockhart Marries Businesswoman", JET Magazine, September 27, 1982.
  2. ^ a b c "Calvin Lockhart's Father Dies In Nassau, Bahamas", JET Magazine, December 9, 1976.
  3. ^ Bergan, Ronald (April 23, 2007). "Film". Guardian. London. Retrieved 2010-12-03.
  4. ^ "Calvin Lockhart, 72, Blaxploitation Actor, Dies", The New York Times, April 10, 2007.
  5. ^ a b "Calvin Lockhart Reveals How Angel Dust Nearly Destroyed His Son's Life", JET Magazine, August 30, 1979.

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