Caribbean nationals residing in Brooklyn will not soon forget Sullivan Walker. He epitomized the federation West Indians imagined if all the countries in the region had united under one banner instead of branching off to seek independence.
Walker not only imagined a united Caribbean force but presided over a theater company that boasted casts of rainbow Caribbean actors to stage performances he defined as Caribbean Experience Theater.
Born in a place called Success Village, Laventille, the Trinidad & Tobago native arrived here in 1969 after placing third in a contest.
According to the Trinidad Express his prize was a trip to the United States.
He used that opportunity to stake a claim for promoting his native T&T theatre and remained here.
By the 1980’s, Walker was packing in crowds to Flatbush where his plays attracted scores of Caribbean nationals.
He established his own theater company and on any given weekend would adorn the Ozone Layer with white balloons, incorporate music and dance to present his story telling episodes of life in T&T.
Walker’s most telling skit described his “Boy Days.”
How he stole condensed milk; tried to conceal his mischief by adding water to the thick, sugary sweetener.
Regardless of which Caribbean nation patrons called home, most related to that childhood prank.
He was seriously comedic.
His interpretation of ‘love in a cemetery’ was not only classic but downright scary.
The riveting tale seemed rapturous and sexy until the end when Walker revealed the entire romantic rendezvous to be one with a ghost.
Later that decade, television audiences found out about the Brooklyn resident when he joined the cast of the “The Cosby Show.”
From 1988 to 1991 Walker portrayed Dr. James Harmon, a friend and physician to Cosby’s character, Dr. Cliff Huxtable.
Hollywood sought him for guest appearances on “The Pretenders,” “The Sentinel,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” and movies “Crocodile Dundee” and “Get Rich or Die Trying.”
He made regular appearances on situation comedy shows: “The Jamie Foxx Show” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.”
He was also the principal character in the series “Where I Live.”
Walker frequently returned to New York and often in the summertime frequented the West Indian American Day Carnival Association’s pre-Labor Day kiddie carnival events at the Brooklyn Museum.
Last year, Walker returned to his twin islands and was allegedly planning to establish a school or workshop that would foster opportunities for young actors seeking to pursue a career in the film and television industry in the USA. While there he auditioned and staged a production based on his book, “Caribbean Woman.”
It was presented in the form of a choreopoem which combines dance and poetry.
“This production and others that will follow in the coming months are all part of my celebrating 50 years in entertainment, film, television, theatre and literature,” Walker said.
“I want to give back for all that I learned here. I am setting up a production company to produce commercially viable films and to work with young actors as well as to create employment. I am already working on a film about my life and a television series set in Tobago titled “A Season In Tobago.”
Walker returned to California last January.
On Feb. 15 he suffered a heart attack and according to his wife Carol, remained “unresponsive.”
He died on Feb. 20.
His body will be returned to New York where a memorial service will be held before his burial in Trinidad & Tobago.