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Holder, Ram John (1934-)


Main image of Holder, Ram John (1934-)

Ram John Holder was born in 1934 and began his performing career as a folk singer in New York. In 1962 he came to London and worked with Pearl Connor's Negro Theatre Workshop initially as a musician and later as an actor. His theatre career saw him perform on the major stages in London such as the National Theatre, the Donmar Warehouse and Bristol Old Vic.

In 1969 he was cast in John Boorman's Leo the Last, a comedy feature film about race relations set in a Notting Hill slum in West London. In addition to his role as the Negro preacher, Holder sang the songs in the film. His other films include Pressure (1975) directed by Horace Ové, again playing a preacher, a cameo performance in My Beautiful Laundrette (d. Stephen Frears, 1985) as a poet, and Sankofa Film and Video's debut feature The Passion of Remembrance (1986).

Many television roles followed for Holder through the 1970s and 1980s, including In The Beautiful Caribbean (tx.3/2/1972) written by Barry Reckord, the title role in Man Friday (tx.30/10/1972), the lead role in Inner City Blues (tx. 2/8/1975), written by Michael Abbensetts, and Playboy of the West Indies (tx. 13/10/1985).

Holder starred in Horace Ové's gentle comedy drama Playing Away (1986), but it is his role in the sitcom Desmond's (1988-1994) for which Holder is now well known. He played the wastrel Porkpie, and later starred in a spin-off series(1995-96) based on this character.

Ann Ogidi

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Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Playing Away (1986)Playing Away (1986)

A Brixton vs Suffolk cricket match leads to a social and cultural clash

Thumbnail image of Pressure (1975)Pressure (1975)

Britain's first black feature: a powerful portrait of inter-generational tensions

Thumbnail image of Big George Is Dead (1987)Big George Is Dead (1987)

Two old friends - or are they? - go for a nostalgic night on the town

Thumbnail image of Desmond's (1988-94)Desmond's (1988-94)

Comedy series set in a Peckham barber's shop

Thumbnail image of Roadrunner (1977)Roadrunner (1977)

A rich young West Indian is forced to return to his North London family

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