Calvin Lockhart

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Calvin Lockhart
Calvin Lockhart.jpg
Lockhart in 1971
Born Bert Cooper
(1934-10-18)October 18, 1934
Nassau, Bahamas
Died March 29, 2007(2007-03-29) (aged 72)
Nassau, Bahamas
Nationality Bahamian American
Education Cooper Union School of Engineering
Occupation Actor
Years active 1960–2007
Spouse(s) Jennifer Miles (m. 1974–2007) (3 children)

Calvin Lockhart (born Bert Cooper; October 18, 1934 – March 29, 2007) was a Bahamian–American stage and film actor.[1] He was best known for his role as Biggie Smalls, a big-time gangster in the 1975 Warner Bros. film Let's Do It Again alongside Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby and Jimmie Walker.

Early life[edit]

Lockhart was born in Nassau, Bahamas, moving to New York City 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 he made his Broadway debut, playing a gang leader in The Cool World, which closed after just two performances. He then travelled 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 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, in which he played a nightclub owner and the boyfriend of star Genevieve Waite. Joanna was directed by Michael Sarne, the British director who subsequently cast Lockhart in the notorious Myra Breckinridge, starring Raquel Welch and Mae West. Lockhart's first lead role in a movie was in the 1970 release Halls of Anger. He played an English teacher and 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 Ossie Davis's Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970) as the Reverend Deke O'Malley, who is under investigation by the movie's main characters.

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, a love interest of the character Dominique Deveraux, played by Diahann Carroll. He is familiar to horror film fans after his performance as the millionaire big-game hunter in The Beast Must Die, released in 1974 by British studio Amicus and also starring Peter Cushing.

Later years and death[edit]

His character's name in the film Let's Do It Again Biggie Smalls was used by Christopher Wallace before a lawsuit forced Wallace to change it to Notorious B.I.G. Lockhart returned to the Bahamas in the late 1990s and worked as a director on several productions of the Freeport Players Guild. He married New York interior designer Jennifer L. Miles, the mother of his son, actor Julien Lockhart Miles. Lockhart's last film role was in Rain, a movie that was shot in the Bahamas and was released in 2007. Lockhart died in a Nassau hospital from stroke-related complications. His wife and son indicated they would establish the Calvin Lockhart Scholarship Fund for Bahamian students interested in acting and movie production.



  1. ^ Bergan, Ronald (April 23, 2007). "Film". Guardian. London. Retrieved 2010-12-03. 

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