Audiences may best remember Calvin Lockhart, as the tall, dark and handsome actor who starred in several 1970s blaxploitation films. Lockhart, who died March 29, 2007 from complications of a stroke, portrayed memorable characters like the Rev. Deke O'Malley in Ossie Davis' "Cotton Comes to Harlem" (1970); a disc-jockey and detective in "Melinda" (1972); Silky Slim in "Uptown Saturday Night" (1974) and the ultra-cool gangster, Biggie Smalls in the Sidney Poitier directed, "Let's Do It Again." (1975).
The Bahamian/American actor also heated up the small screen when he played Jonathan Lake, the love interest of Diahann Carroll on the hit TV show, "Dynasty." Good looks and talent took Lockhart far. He became an actor-in-residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. He later starred on Broadway, notably in in the play, "The Cool World."
While Lockhart's first major film role was as the boyfriend of singer/actress Genevieve Waite in the interracial 1967 movie "Joanna," his first lead role was in the 1970 dramatic movie, "Halls of Anger."
If you can get your hands on a copy of this rare and classic movie you'll see just what an extraordinary actor Lockhart truly was. You might also be able to catch "Halls of Anger" on TV-One and the Centric Networks.
"Halls of Anger" is a powerful movie. It takes an unflinching look at black and white race relations. In addition to Lockhart, the film features a star-studded cast from "Crazy Heart" Oscar winner Jeff Bridges and Ed Asner, to Rob Reiner, Michael Warren, James A. Watson Jr., Patricia Stich, Janet MacLachlan and John McLiam.
Lockhart plays Quincy Davis, an English teacher who has a good job at a school in the white suburbs, but is offered a vice principal job at an inner city school.
When Quincy arrives to the campus he soon finds out it's a different world. The school has plenty of issues, but the biggest are its out-of-control students. It's no wonder the principal, Boyd Wilkinson (John McLiam) runs the place like a prison.
He's hoping that Quincy (Lockhart) will come in, turn things around and keep the peace especially now since white students are being bused to the school. That's a real tall order.
Tensions continue to escalate when a white student (Patricia Stich) is threatened and nearly raped in the locker room. Another student, Douglas (Bridges) is humiliated and beaten almost daily by a group of thugs led by J.T. Watson (James A. Watson Jr.).
Is there anything that can bring these students together and squash their hostility and hatred toward each other? You'll be surprised.
As an entertainment writer I've met and interviewed tons of actors over the years, but I never got the opportunity to meet Calvin Lockhart. I wish I had. He was an enormously talented actor. Fortunately he's left his fans with an impressive body of work. "Halls of Anger" tops my list.