Norman Beaton – Actor

Norman Beaton (Centre)
Norman Beaton (Centre)

Norman Beaton was a teacher turned actor. He will be best remembered for his role as Peckhams best loved Barber in the hit T.V show ‘Desmonds‘.

Norman Lugard Beaton was born in Georgetown Guyana.

Beaton attended Queen’s College in Guyana until he was expelled for truancy and bad grades. He was given a second chance at the Government Teachers’ Training College and graduated with distinction.

Beaton taught and played with the calypso band The Four Bees before leaving Guyana for London in 1960.

He took a job in the shipping department of a bookshop until his wife and children arrived in London. He then took a job as a teacher in Liverpool, becoming the first black teacher to be employed by the Liverpool Education Authority.

Beaton began writing plays, his first play the musical Jack of Spades centered on the doomed relationship between a black man and a white woman. It wa a moderate success and inspired Beaton to give up teaching to concentrate on the theater. He moved first to Bristol and then to Sussex where he he played the leading role in a musical he had written, Sit Down Banna at the Connaught Theatre. This was the beginning of his acting career.

In the early seventies, Beaton began to perform in plays in London’s West End, in 1970 he played the role of Ariel Shakespeare’s The Tempest, which he described in his autobiography as “the most important role of my acting career.”

In 1975, he helped to establish the Black Theatre of Brixton. In 1976, Beaton broke into television in the series The Fosters.

In 1988 Desmonds aired, Beaton starred as the title character that would become his most well known.

After ill health, he flew back to Guyana. He died in 1994 aged 60.

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