Paul Danquah: A cinematic journey of a British-Ghanaian trailblazer

Stories and facts

Paul Danquah, known as Joseph Paul Walcott in his early life, left an indelible mark as a British film actor, barrister, and cultural influencer. Born on May 25, 1925, in London, England, Danquah's heritage intertwined with Ghanaian statesmanship as his father was the esteemed J. B. Danquah.

In his formative years, Danquah studied law and was called to the bar at the Inner Temple, a prestigious institution of legal education. His legal pursuits extended to Ghana and Washington, D.C., marking him as a distinguished legal professional. He later embarked on a consulting journey with the World Bank, contributing his expertise until his retirement in 1986.

Beyond his legal career, Paul Danquah made an impactful foray into the realm of acting. His debut in the British film "A Taste of Honey" in 1961, where he portrayed the character Jimmy, showcased his talent. Notably, a momentous on-screen kiss with co-star Rita Tushingham became a historic instance, claimed to be one of the first interracial kisses in film history. The New York Times commended his performance, describing Danquah as "gentle and subtle" in his role.

In addition to his acting prowess, Danquah ventured into television, hosting the BBC Two series "Play School" in 1965. This achievement marked a significant milestone, as he is reported to be the first black presenter of a children's program in the UK.

Danquah's cultural influence extended beyond the screen. Notably, he shared a residence with renowned painter Francis Bacon and his partner Peter Pollock in Battersea from 1956 to 1961. This period was marked by artistic collaboration, with Danquah arranging for Don Bachardy to draw Bacon. Later, in the late 1990s, a suitcase containing drawings by Bacon was discovered by Danquah and Pollock. These drawings found a home in the Tate and were exhibited in 1999.

Later in life, Danquah relocated to Tangier, Morocco, with Peter Pollock in the late 1970s. In 2015, at the age of 90, Paul Danquah passed away in Tangier. As per his wishes, he was laid to rest in Boubana Cemetery beside his partner, Peter Pollock, marking the final chapter in the life of a man who bridged cultures through law, acting, and artistic collaboration. Paul Danquah's legacy lives on as a multifaceted individual who made enduring contributions to the realms of law, cinema, and cultural exchange.



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