Walker at the funeral of Wendy Richard (2009).
28 September 1939
Trinidad, West Indies
Rudolph Walker, OBE (born 28 September 1939), is a Trinidadian character actor, best known for his roles on television. He was the first black actor to appear in a major British TV series, his breakthrough role as Bill in the sitcom Love Thy Neighbour leading to a long and varied acting career. He is currently best known as Patrick Trueman in the BBC One TV soap opera EastEnders.
Early life and emigration
Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Walker moved to the United Kingdom at the age of 20 in 1960.
Walker's first major television role was as a policeman in the British drama The Wednesday Play, in the episode entitled "Fable" (aired 27 January 1965). He is known for his comedic roles in Love Thy Neighbour (Thames Television), The Thin Blue Line and in Ali G Indahouse. He also appeared in Doctor Who, in the 1969 serial The War Games. He was one of the first black actors to be seen regularly on British television, and has always been proud of his role on the controversial Love Thy Neighbour as a result.
He appeared in the first episode of On the Buses, "The Early Shift", and the first episode of Mr. Bean as "The Examiner". Since 2001, he has played Patrick Trueman on EastEnders and in 2010 he appeared in the Internet spin-off series EastEnders: E20. He has also starred in a BBC1 sitcom called The Crouches, about a family from Walworth, in South East London. He played the grandfather for all seasons (2003–2005)
Although most of his work has been on television, he has appeared in several movies, including 10 Rillington Place, King Ralph (along with his Love Thy Neighbour co star, Jack Smethurst), and Let Him Have It. On the stage, he appeared in the first production of Mustapha Matura's Play Mas at the Royal Court Theatre in 1974, and has played the titular character in stage productions of Shakespeare's Othello, directed by David Thacker and Charles Marowitz, and also Caliban in a production of The Tempest directed by Jonathan Miller. He was also Gower in Thacker's 1989 production of Pericles, Prince of Tyre.
Walker was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2006 for his services to drama. A biography for children about him, written by Verna Wilkins, was published by Tamarind Books on 4 September 2008.
The Rudolph Walker Foundation
On Walker's 70th birthday, he launched a new foundation, The Rudolph Walker Foundation, whose aims include to helping to provide opportunities and incentives for disadvantaged youth starting out on an entertainment career. The Foundation administers Rudolph Walker's inter-School Drama Award (RWiSDA), competed for by schools across London. In addition, Rudolph Walker's Role Model Award (RWRMA) is presented to outstanding students who have contributed something special like demonstrating positive leadership, a good influence to their peers and others, and a role model within the school.
- The Witches (1966)
- On The Buses (1969)
- Doctor Who (1969)
- All the Right Noises (1971)
- Girl Stroke Boy (1971)
- Universal Soldier (1971)
- 10 Rillington Place (1971)
- Love Thy Neighbour (1973)
- Man About the House (1974)
- Spaghetti House (1982)
- Mr. Bean (1990)
- King Ralph (1991)
- Let Him Have It (1991)
- Bodger & Badger (1991)
- Bhaji on the Beach (1993)
- Never Judge a Book by its Cover (1993)
- The Thin Blue Line (1995–1996)
- The House of Angelo (1997)
- EastEnders (2001–present)
- Ali G Indahouse (2002)
- The Crouches (2003–2005)
- Hit for Six (2007)
- EastEnders: E20 (2010)
- Celebrity Antiques Road Trip (2012) (Participant)
- Rudolph Walker at the British Film Institute's Screenonline
- Credits at Gavin Barker Associates website
- Rudolph Walker at the Internet Movie Database