Rudolph Walker – my person of the month

Rudolph Malcolm Walker is a Trinidadian actor, best known for his roles on British television. He was the first black actor to appear in a major British TV series, his breakthrough role as Bill in the 1970s sitcom Love Thy Neighbour (co-starring fellow Trinidadian Nina Baden-Semper) leading to a long and varied acting career. He is currently best known as Patrick Trueman in the BBC One TV soap opera EastEnders, in which he has acted since 2001.

Some things about him that you may not know…

  • He loves cricket and tennis.

  • He was awarded the O.B.E. (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2006 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his services to drama.

  • Father of Darren (b. 1971) and Sheona Walker (b. 1975).

  • Ranked #76 in The 100 Greatest EastEnders (1985) Characters of All Time for his performance as Patrick Trueman (2015).

  • Filmed his 1,000th episode of EastEnders (1985) on 7 December 2015.

  • Grandfather of Loveday and Latimer Walker via son Darren and his wife Dimity

  • As of 2017 he is the 5th-longest serving actor in the history of EastEnders (1985) (behind only Adam Woodyatt, Steve McFadden, Perry Fenwick, and Sid Owen), having played the character Patrick Trueman for 16 years (from 2001 onwards).

 

Rudolph has also been a huge advocate for Prostrate Cancer Awareness

My awareness of prostate cancer is really something very close to home, my uncle died of prostate cancer, I was very fond of him. It was a very painful experience for me, so when I was approached quite a few years after to be involved with Prostate Cancer UK, I just didn’t hesitate.   

I also encouraged Eastenders to do a storyline about prostate cancer, which they did in 2014 with the character Stan Carter played by Timothy West – that raised quite a lot of awareness. 

One in four black men will get prostate cancer – those statistics are not encouraging. My background, coming from the Caribbean, we have a mentality where we don’t talk about anything to do with our private parts. It’s to do with our pride and being macho. Prevention is better than cure and if you capture something like prostate cancer early, then you stand a better chance of beating it. 

I strongly appeal to all black men to look after your health. Find out about your risk of prostate cancer and once you hit 40 or 50, go and talk to your doctor. I also think women need to be aware and urge their men to do this. They stand a better chance of getting through to them, and it’s in their interest because if a man has prostate cancer it affects the whole family. Sadly that’s something Stan discovered too late. I hope his story will help to get the message out there.

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), and many schools across London compete in this initiative. 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.

There are so many reasons to adore this man. His acting career has spanned decades, I feel as if I’ve grown up with him. His care for and his willingness to support others is a beautiful thing. Seeing as it’s #MensMonth here at AngieGreaves.com, I could find no one more worthy of being my person of the month. Thank you Rudolph for all that you are and all that you have done and continue to do… it’s such a privilege to know you! 

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