Michael Cashman, born on December 17, 1950, is a British actor, politician, and human rights activist. He started his career appearing in several British soap operas, theater shows, and television series. Cashman was a member of the European Parliament for West Midlands and a current member of the House of Lords. He is also a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (C.B.E.) and the Baron of Limehouse in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Cashman is a strong L.G.B.T. rights activist and has used his various political platforms to speak and campaign against minority discrimination and homophobia.
Michael Maurice Cashman was born on December 14, 1950, in the East End of London, England. Cashman began his acting career when he was 14. In 1964, he made his acting debut in the 14th episode of the I.T.C. series “Gideon’s Way,” which was aired in 1965. Two years later, Cashman appeared in “Zigger Zagger” at the Strand Theatre in the West End. In 1980, he landed a more permanent role in ITV’s “The Sandbaggers.”
In 1986, Cashman joined the B.B.C. television series “EastEnders.” He made history when his character became the first to have a gay mouth-to-mouth kiss in a British soap. The scene generated controversy in the British press.
In the 1990s, Cashman became actively involved in politics. He became a member of the European Parliament for West Midlands on June 10, 1999 — a position he held until May 26, 2014. He led cross-party coalitions and committees to tackle homophobia in Europe and promote the rights of the L.G.B.T. community. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Staffordshire University for his efforts and was elected M.E.P. of the Year for Justice and Fundamental Rights. In 2013, Cashman was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (C.B.E.) in the Queen’s New Year honors list for political services and equalities. The following year, he became one of the 22 new life peers announced by the government. He was elevated to the House of Lords and took the title “Baron Cashman of Limehouse.” On May 22, 2019, he resigned from the Labour Party on account of its stance on Brexit but later returned on January 11, 2022. Cashman’s memoir titled “One of Them: From Albert Square to Parliament Square” was released in February 2020. He is a founder and founding member of several gay organizations, including Stonewall and L.G.B.T. Labour. He was the President of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on gay and lesbian issues and Labour Party’s L.G.B.T. Global Envoy.
Cashman makes his first appearance in the 14th episode of the ITC series “Gideon’s Way.”
He makes history as his character, Colin Russell, becomes the first to have a gay mouth-to-mouth kiss in a British soap.
He becomes a member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands.
He makes the 2013 New Year honors list as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (C.B.E.).
He releases his memoir “One of Them: From Albert Square to Parliament Square,” which makes the 2021 RSL Christopher Bland Prize shortlist.
Why We Love Michael Cashman
He is a versatile actor
Cashman has had an exceptional career as a theater and T.V. actor and movie producer. He appeared in diverse productions in West End playhouses. He is acclaimed by theater and T.V. critics for his theatrical work.
He is outspoken about L.G.B.T. rights
In various official capacities, Cashman has publicly expressed strong support for gay rights in the United Kingdom and Europe. His activism is contagious.
He knows where to find strength
Cashman once said he battled with depression when his partner of 31 years passed away. But he constantly reminds himself that “I have 31 years and some people don’t even have 31 months.” He found the strength from knowing that “things will get better if I want them to be.”
5 Surprising Facts
He was in “Oliver!”
At age 12, Cashman was cast as the lead character in the musical “Oliver!”
He said “no” to sponsoring the Olympics
In 2014, he protested parliament’s sponsorship of the Winter Olympics in Russia where laws against L.G.B.T. people had been passed; he cut up his Visa card during the parliament’s session.
His involvement in an L.G.B.T. network
He announced in 2015 his involvement and investment in SuitLink Ltd., a worldwide L.G.B.T. professional social network.
He studied performing arts
Cashman’s parents sent him to Stagecoach, a performing arts school for children in the southwestern suburb of London, to help him gain experience.
The first openly gay legislator
He became the first openly gay member of the European Parliament from the U.K.; he was a member of the British Labour Party.
Michael Cashman FAQs
When did Michael Cashman know he was gay?
Cashman had known he was gay since he was 11 but did not reveal this to his parents until he was in his mid-20s.
Who was Michael Cashman’s partner?
His civil partner was Paul Cottingham, who died of cancer in 2014.
Did Michael Cashman enjoy being an actor?
In an interview with “YASS” magazine, Cashman said he loved being an actor, adding that “you get an opportunity to be so many different people, to indulge your imagination, and to find out about yourself.”
Michael Cashman’s birthday dates