Calvin Lockhart: Unveiling the Bahamian-American Acting Maestro



Explore the life and career of Calvin Lockhart, the Bahamian-American stage and film actor, renowned for his compelling performances in classics like “Cotton Comes to Harlem” and “Let’s Do It Again.” Unravel the layers of his fascinating journey from the streets of Nassau to the glitz of Hollywood.

Early Life in Nassau, Bahamas

Delve into Lockhart’s roots as Bert McClossy Cooper, born into a family of eight in Nassau, Bahamas. Learn about his father, Eric Cooper, a Bahamian tailor, and the early years that shaped his resilient spirit.

The New York Sojourn

At 18, Lockhart moved to New York City, navigating the city’s challenges while juggling studies at the Cooper Union School of Engineering. Discover his shift from engineering to the pursuit of acting, driving taxis, and operating a carpentry business to support his dreams.

Broadway Debut and European Ventures

Trace Lockhart’s Broadway debut in 1960 and his subsequent journey to Italy, West Germany, and England. Uncover his roles on British television and small film appearances, laying the groundwork for his international acclaim.

Notable Screen Roles

Explore Lockhart’s breakthrough in “Joanna” (1968) and the notorious “Myra Breckinridge.” Delve into his lead role in “Halls of Anger” (1970) and his captivating portrayal of Reverend Deke O’Malley in “Cotton Comes to Harlem.”

Royal Shakespeare Company and Soap Opera Stint

Discover Lockhart’s residency at the Royal Shakespeare Company in the 1970s and his later stint as Jonathan Lake in the prime-time soap opera “Dynasty.” Examine his versatility, from Shakespearean roles to soap opera drama.

The Philanthropic Efforts

Learn about Lockhart’s active role in the “Getting Off Drugs” campaign in Los Angeles during the late 1970s. Uncover his commitment to steering teenagers away from drugs, reflecting his dedication to community welfare.

Return to the Bahamas, Final Film, and Legacy

Explore Lockhart’s return to the Bahamas in the late 1990s, where he worked as a director for the Freeport Players Guild. Delve into his last film role in “Rain” (2007) and the circumstances surrounding his death on March 29, 2007.

Personal Life and Pop Culture Influence

Uncover Lockhart’s personal life, including his marriages and two sons. Explore his pop culture impact, from the character Biggie Smalls in “Let’s Do It Again” to its resonance with musical artist Christopher Wallace.


As we conclude the journey through Calvin Lockhart’s life, reflect on the indelible mark he left on the acting landscape. Appreciate the depth of his contributions and the enduring legacy he forged.

FAQs – Calvin Lockhart Unveiled

  1. Was “Biggie Smalls” Calvin Lockhart’s real name?
    • No, “Biggie Smalls” was a character name in the film “Let’s Do It Again.” Calvin Lockhart’s real name was Bert McClossy Cooper.
  2. What prompted Lockhart’s involvement in the “Getting Off Drugs” campaign?
    • Lockhart actively participated in the campaign to combat drug issues among teenagers in Los Angeles during the late 1970s.
  3. How did Calvin Lockhart balance his international career?
    • Lockhart’s international journey involved ventures in Europe and a residency at the Royal Shakespeare Company, showcasing his versatility.
  4. What legacy did Lockhart leave in the Bahamas?
    • In the late 1990s, Lockhart contributed to the arts in the Bahamas, working as a director for the Freeport Players Guild.
  5. How is Calvin Lockhart remembered in pop culture today?
    • The character name “Biggie Smalls” became iconic and was later used by Notorious B.I.G. after a lawsuit forced a change. Calvin Lockhart’s impact resonates in various cultural spheres.

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